Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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12.4.2 Technology Transfer within non-Annex I Countries

In the forestry sector, technology transfer within non-Annex I countries (largely referring to tropical countries) is crucial (Table 12.4). Forests in most countries are largely controlled and managed by the forest departments. Thus, government will be the dominant actor for promoting technology transfer.

Government initiated mechanisms and measures:

  • Regulations on timber extraction companies for practicing sustainable logging
  • Enforcing forest conservation regulations and adoption of effective monitoring techniques
  • Removing subsidies for deforestation
  • Financial incentives for adopting SFM and particularly for reduced impact logging practices
  • Funding capacity building in R&D institutions for technology generation as well as assimilation of imported technology
  • Training in sustainable logging and management practices for forest department and timber logging companies
  • Strengthening forest extension services
  • Formation of Protected Areas
  • Framing policies on land and product tenures to promote community participation
  • Establishing linkage between research institutions and forest department
  • Creating awareness regarding the potential for mitigation projects, costs, and benefits (private, local and global), sources of funding and technology
  • Understanding, recording, and adopting indigenous forest conservation and management practices
  • Increasing financial allocation to environmental education programmes
  • Setting up agencies to assist local groups (NGOs, farmers' organisations, local forest departments and even industries) to generate forest-sector mitigation project proposals
  • Creating technical capacity for monitoring of forest areas and status for assessing impacts of removal of subsidies to deforestation, on causes of deforestation and the likely effects of different measures intended to reduce it
  • Assigning economic valuation to forest services, such as biodiversity, soil and water conservation, etc., and collecting carbon tax from potential beneficiaries such as farmers and industries.

Funding for forestry research and development needs to be increased substantially, as usually the forestry sector competes poorly with agriculture; for example in Mexico, 98% of subsidies still go to promote agriculture rather than forestry (SEMARNAP, 1996). Licensing of logging companies or timber export organisations could be linked to adoption of reduced impact logging techniques. Strong forest conservation policies are required. India passed a Forest Conservation Act in 1980, under which conversion of forest land is highly regulated. The area under forest has begun to stabilise in India, as deforestation rates have declined and conversion of forest land to agriculture has nearly stopped (Ravindranath and Hall, 1994). The result is that there is a shift in sourcing industrial wood from forests to private farm based plantations. Protected Areas account for 15% of forests globally (FAO, 1995). There is a large potential to increase the protected area coverage. Appropriate legislation is required to demarcate new Protected Areas. This would necessitate adoption of protected-area management practices based on experience from other protected areas. It may be possible to legislate to ensure that a certain percentage of newsprint is recycled even in developing countries, to conserve forests and in turn the C sinks. Thus, regulations on forest conversion, harvest of forest products and its processing could automatically ensure diffusion of forest conservation, sustainable forest management and processing technologies.

Diffusion of technology from R&D institutions to forest departments
. The focus of forest departments in most countries, particularly tropical countries, is on forest protection, afforestation and enforcing regulations. They will also continue to implement mitigation projects. R&D, however, is a low-priority area in these organisations. Forest departments in most tropical countries, being the dominant agency involved in forest protection and afforestation, will require input of technology. These departments are unlikely to be driven by profit motive. However, to maximise returns (monetary, as well as environmental, such as bio-diversity conservation) forest departments could adopt efficient management say for Protected Areas, silvicultural for afforestation and (reduced impact) logging practices. The national governments, particularly ministries in charge of the forest department, could evolve national mechanisms to promote closer interaction between R&D institutions (government, university and industry) and the local forest departments to promote technology transfer.

Private sector. Linkages between industry and farmers is one of the most important emerging pathways for future technology transfer. The degraded farmland in many countries, has a large potential for forestry mitigation projects (Ravindranath and Hall, 1995; Sathaye and Ravindranath, 1998). Both industry and farmers are driven by the profit motive. The goals for promoting ''farm forestry'' and agroforestry could be; firstly, to grow biomass for meeting rural, urban, industrial and export needs to reduce pressure on forests (ultimately conserving C sinks); secondly, to create new sinks of C particularly in sawn timber from trees on farms and fruit trees on farm lands and; thirdly, to grow biomass feedstock for bioenergy utilities. Industry needs to have in-house R&D or could access technology from the research institutions within the countries. The role of industry is crucial in facilitating technology transfer to a large number of small and dispersed farmers. Technology transfer could be facilitated as a part of a package from industry to farmers including; credit, technology and marketing arrangements.

Community initiated. NGOs in developing countries could create public awareness regarding forest conservation, SFM practices, recycling and their local and global implications, to ensure compliance with legislation and policies by the government departments, industries, timber logging and exporting companies. Forestry extension service is very poorly developed compared to agricultural extension service thus NGOs could play a major role. An example of an NGO driven large scale revegetation programme, involving Tree Growers Cooperatives, is given in Box 12.1 (see also Case Study 25).

Box 12.1 Tree growers' Cooperatives; A participatory approach to reclaim degraded lands

National Tree Growers Cooperative Federation Limited (NTGCF) is an NGO based in India. It was established in 1988 with the main objective to restore the degraded and marginalised village lands. The NTGCF has been operating in six states of India since 1986. Professionals from forestry, social and economic sectors work together to achieve this goal. A participatory approach is adopted by the NTGCF to create self-sustaining village cooperatives called the Tree Growers Cooperative Society (TGCS). The TGCS works towards restoring the biological productivity of marginally productive and unproductive degraded lands, establish ecologically self-sustained fuelwood and fodder plantations to meet the essential needs of the villagers, and also cater to the urban demand for fuelwood, timber and tree based products through ecologically sustainable modes. The NTGCF provides financial assistance and organises training, extension and orientation programmes for the rural communities to revegetate the degraded village lands. As of March 1998, the NTGCF has revegetated 8911 hectares of land with a carbon sequestration potential of about 14258 tC. If TGCS' concept is extended to cover all the degraded village commons of 11.8 x 106 ha, the annual C sequestered could be 19 MtC. Revegetation under the growers cooperative concept will ultimately lead to forest C sink conservation.

Technology transfer with multiple actors. The foregoing discussion covers the role of different technology transfer mechanisms separately. However, in practice pathways are often composed of complementary links among the actors (government, private sector, NGOs). An example is the social forestry programmes in India. During the 1980s, these programmes were exclusively promoted by the government forest department. From the early 1990s the programmes were promoted on village communal land by NGOs, such as the National Tree Growers' Cooperative Federation (NTGCF), and on private farms by industries, mainly for pulp (Ravindranath and Hall, 1995).

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