Several developmental projects in the forestry sector have been implemented
in the tropics that could be sources for understanding the possible
implications of future LULUCF projects. One such afforestation program
implemented in India was funded by several donor agencies during the
1980s. In terms of number of trees planted (18,876 million trees in
1980-87, Chambers et al., 1989), the project was a success. The
lessons learned from the program are briefly described below (Saxena,
Social forestry projects were implemented by the Forest Department
in India with the goal of meeting the demands of rural people and reducing
the burden on production forestry. The species planted in the village
commons and revenue lands were mainly monocultures of Eucalyptus,
Casuarina, and Acacia sp. Tree planting and management was
carried out by the Forest Department in the initial years and later
handed over to the Panchayat (village governing body).
The selection of species reflected the choice of the Forest Department
rather than the local preferences. Participation was limited to a few
members of the village elite. Community involvement was limited to handing
over the common land for plantation and participation as wage labor.
In designing the project, foresters and foreign experts did not fully
grasp the complexity of the rural power structure and assumed that the
village Panchayats represented the interests of all concerned in the
village (SIDA, 1992). Thus, a large portion of the benefit from the
project went to the urban areas, industries, and retailers-defeating
the purpose of the project.
Throughout the social forestry phase, it was not clear whether village
land belonged to the Forest Department, the Revenue Department, or the
village body. Such uncertainty about ownership and legal rights impeded
community action. Non-forest laws often conflicted with the social forestry
Species selection, spacing, and other silvicultural issues were not
properly examined and implemented. Benefits that could flow to poor
villagers from species yielding intermediate products were not properly
appreciated. The production of grass, legumes, leaf fodder, fruits,
and non-timber forest products was neglected. Close spacing was prescribed
to avoid intermediate management options, reduce plantation costs, and
cut down on staff supervision time. As a consequence, thinning and pruning,
which could have produced intermediate yields of grass and tree products
for the people, were not undertaken (Saxena, 1997). Because of the close
spacing, grass production was affected. Because projects were designed
around the ultimate felling of the planted trees, degradation often
set in after the trees were harvested.
The failure to define, establish, and publicize the rights for marketing
and allocating benefits to the community led to the failure of their
participation. Rights to trees and a distribution policy that were not
official preoccupations in the early stages of the tree planting led
to inequitable distribution later.
A government review found that only 20 percent of the respondents knew
about the woodlots during the planning stage, only 14 percent of the
people participated in the meetings, and about 83 percent of the low-status
people were adversely affected by the closure of the community land.
The landless farmers and artisans depend on the village commons to graze
their animals and collect fuelwood.
The funding projects provided the Forest Department with vehicles and
foreign training, but little emphasis was given to building the capacity
of the Forest Department.
Multiplicity of Donors
Multiplicity of donors with different priorities within single provinces
resulted in conflicting policies being followed.