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Research Report

Developing Criteria and Indicators of Community Managed Forests as Assessment and Learning Tools:: Objectives, Methodologies and Results

Nicolette Burford de Oliveira
Cynthia McDougall
Bill Ritchie
Herlina Hartanto
Mandy Haggith
Titiek Setyawati
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2000
Pages: 338
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Table of Contents

  1. SECTION I: Introduction

    • (pp. 1-19)

      This report presents and discusses in depth the results of three tests of Criteria and Indicators (C&I) for assessing the social, ecological and management aspects of Community Managed Forests (CMF) undertaken by CIFOR and partners. The tests, conducted between March 1997 and February 1998, focused on six forest communities located in Central Cameroon, Indonesia (West Kalimantan) and the Brazilian Amazonian State of Pará, respectively (henceforth be referred to as the ‘test sites’)².

      The C&I for CMF tests aimed to identify C&I that could be used by various forest interest groups, including forest communities themselves, to assess the sustainability of forest...

  2. SECTION II: Research Results:: Criteria and Indicators of Sustainability in Community Managed Forests

    • (pp. 21-21)

      A community managed forest C&I assessment can be likened to a landscape painted with the spectrum of colours provided by the C&I selected. There is not just one way of interpreting and representing a landscape; seen through different eyes, it will be perceived and thus be painted differently. The C&I included in the sets are not the ‘whole truth’ or necessarily the most important C&I from all perspectives; their rationale and validity is not unquestionable. This is as it should be, not only because of the nature of sustainability, but also because this research initiative penetrates uncharted terrain. The insights...

    • (pp. 23-31)

      In our review of the final sets of C&I proposed by the test teams we took the following into account:

      The rationales that can be offered to justify the acceptance of individual and complexes of C&I (with reference to the Justification Forms completed by the discipline specialists, among other things);

      Debate concerning the C&I that took place between different groups involved in the C&I development process, including the discipline specialists, community members, members of the collaborating organisations, other collaborators and the workshop participants;

      The conditions and evidence of management observed at the test sites;

      Reports submitted by the discipline specialists...

    • (pp. 33-75)

      Recent years have seen a move towards assessing the appropriateness of community forest management in terms of its significance to landscape sustainability, and not just to the sustainability of the forest stand.17 This section embraces this approach and thus explores issues of ecological integrity, as it relates to landscape and human natural system interfaces. It examines the C&I generated during the test for the assessment of habitat diversity (or ‘landscape mosaic’) and forest structure. The wider significance of these issues to biodiversity conservation and cultural survival is also discussed. Among the C&I considered are those related to:

      the underlying causes...

    • (pp. 77-127)

      This section concentrates on the practical and technical aspects of forest interventions, in particular forest tending and harvesting activities, including non-timber forest product collection and hunting. C&I developed on the planning and localisation of these activities are examined. The C&I developed on the timing of interventions, the techniques these interventions involve, the conditions under which they take place, and their impact on species and the environment are presented and reviewed. All three disciplinary sets address these technical issues to some extent, but the majority of C&I discussed below originate from the ecological and forest management sets.22

      It was difficult to...

    • (pp. 129-152)

      The socio-economic dimensions of CMF express themselves in the welfare derived from the forest by individuals and the community as a whole. Welfare is here defined to include health, material well-being, cultural fulfilment and possibilities for the realisation of aspirations. How people participate in determining their community’s socio-cultural organisation affects their welfare in so far as it represents the limits to their power and authority over forest resources.

      A major question concerning the social dimensions of forest management is whether the social costs it incurs are acceptable. Do the changes in forest interventions that affect sustainability lead to higher or...

    • (pp. 153-180)

      In the previous section we looked at C&I that can help describe the social impacts or outcomes of CMFs. We now turn to examine the tested C&I that more directly concern the factors and phenomena which determine and regulate these impacts and outcomes. This category encompasses the mechanisms and processes that, deliberately or through default, structure decision-making, channel access, and shape relative forest dependency. Organisational structures and procedures, institutions, norms, taboos and rules are all included in this category. Often complex and subtle, they commonly have their roots in the local cultural and ecological environment (Ostrom 1990). Collectively they may...

    • (pp. 181-198)

      Our interest in legislative and policy issues centres on their capacity to promote ecologically sustainable and socially equitable CMF. Around the world an increasing number of CMF systems and initiatives need, more than ever, the supportive backing of a strong policy and legal framework to deter free-riding behaviour (especially of outsiders), the creation of negative externalities, and to mitigate the adverse consequences of free competition.

      Legislation and policies can pursue this objective simultaneously from two, potentially mutually supportive, angles. On the one hand, they can support or create conditions conducive to sustainability and equity; on the other hand, they can...

    • (pp. 199-210)

      Over one hundred of the C&I statements refer explicitly to knowledge, most often local knowledge. A community’s knowledge of its forest, it would appear, was therefore regarded as highly indicative of its capacity for sustainable forest management. From this it follows that the existence of effective processes for keeping local knowledge alive, and allowing it to evolve and grow, also indicates the sustainability of forests.

      Knowledge embraces information, perceptions, and understandings, and the recognised effects of different combinations of these. It allows forest use-options and methods for developing their potential to be recognised. It includes the understanding of practices and...

  3. SECTION III: Discussion and Conclusions

    • (pp. 211-230)

      The C&I for CMFs tests were carried out in three continents. They scanned a vast spectrum of issues either affecting or affected by CMF. They brought together the ideas of academics in different fields and with contrasting backgrounds. They drew community members into debates on how to describe, analyse and evaluate their own performance as forest resource managers. Additionally, they sought to derive the extent to which the C&I they generated are relevant to geographical locations other than the test sites, and what their application would require from different potential users in the way of funds, knowledge, skills and technology....

    • (pp. 231-236)

      These tests of C&I for CMFs have been pioneering in their aims to:

      1) review and improve selected methodologies for generating C&I of the sustainability of CMFs; and

      2) evaluate the relevance and informative powers of C&I with reference to, among other things, the discovered strengths and weaknesses of the methodologies used to generate them.

      The tests’ results were not intended to be conclusive. Although some compromises were inevitable between the number of topics covered and the depth to which individual topics were explored, the results drew together a range of issues that appear to commonly affect the sustainability of...

  4. Annexes