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Research Report

Guidelines on National Inventory of Village Forests

K.D. Singh
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2000
Pages: 67
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 2-4)

    This paper presents guidelines on national inventory of trees and forests occurring in rural landscapes, called hereafter ‘village forests’. In spite of the great importance to the local community, these resources have often been overlooked by land management agencies. Reliable information on their contributions to the rural economy will help in raising awareness of policy-makers and mobilise support for their management and development.

    The guidelines provide a basis for planning and implementation of nationwide village forest inventories, which may be either integrated with, or conducted independently of, a national inventory of forests. The focus is on village forest conditions, as...

  2. (pp. 5-9)

    The problem formulation provides a detailed specification of forest inventory objectives, in particular, why an inventory is needed. This is the foremost task in any forest inventory. Then one can proceed through stages of data definition, statistical design, data collection and data processing. An inadequacy at the problem formulation stage is most difficult to offset subsequently. Even the best statistical design or use of the most sophisticated remote sensing technology cannot make up for failures at the conceptual stage.

    It is emphasised that an inventory is not an end in itself but only a component of a larger decision-making process....

  3. (pp. 10-16)

    Knowledge of village forest inventories is limited, whereas the literature on inventories of forest reserves managed by foresters is copious and dates back nearly 150 years. The Bangladesh Village Forest Inventory, conducted by FAO during 1980-82, is an example of a first systematic effort in the tropics. A survey of hedgerows and trees in the United Kingdom by the Forestry Commission in 1989-92 is a good example of an inventory in a temperate area (Forestry Commission 1990).

    Trees planted by villagers form more scattered units and have more diverse management than large areas of forest or industrial plantations. Figure 1...

  4. (pp. 17-24)

    The reasons for using a sampling technique other than a census are to obtain estimates with specified precision at the least cost; and provide an objective basis for collecting data and making inferences about the parent population. Sample survey estimates are always subject to a variety of errors arising from field sampling, measurement and judgement. The errors follow the law of propagation of errors. It is important that the user of the survey specify at the very outset, the desired standard error and level of confidence. For example, surveys in Bangladesh and Haryana (India), both set the standard error goal...

  5. (pp. 25-28)

    The term ‘remote sensing’ is used here to include aerial photographs and satellite images for obtaining auxiliary information as a part of the field survey (see Section 6). Aerial photographs at larger scales e.g. 1: 5000-10 000, can provide a good synoptic view of trees in a village and its surrounds, location of each individual tree and pattern of tree distribution. Adjacent pairs of photographs enable a stereoscopic (3-dimensional) view and tree or stand measurements which can be combined with field inventory data. This permits a major part of the survey work is done on photographs with only a minor...

  6. (pp. 29-32)

    Standard techniques exist for field surveys to estimate timber and fuelwood production but procedures are more limited for assessing most of the non-wood forest products (NWFP). These are of major importance for the local dwellers and the rural development, perhaps much more so than wood products e.g. Carter 1996, Salafsky et al. 1999. A survey of use of 90 tree species in the rural India showed all were used for wood, 30% for fruit, 20% for bark, 20% for gum and 12% for leaves (Chetty 1985). This survey shows that wood production is most important however, other products not included...

  7. (pp. 33-38)

    Special studies supplement sample survey work by providing additional information or developing functions for estimating variables which may require destructive sampling or are very costly to measure. An example is the estimation of volume of standing trees based on measurements, such as species, diameter and height, taken during the inventory. Studies may also be needed to estimate fruit or seed production, bark yield, fodder production from trees of variable diameter and/or height, or to estimate the weight of bamboo from size and/or length measurements etc.

    Parameters which may require special studies in view of survey complexity during traditional forest inventory...

  8. (pp. 39-42)

    A national inventory contains a large volume of inter-connected data requiring the services of a specialised person for processing and reporting. Experience shows that consideration of data processing problems at the inception of a forest inventory saves effort later. Some guidance on the coding system and design of field forms is useful at this stage. Well-designed field forms facilitate data collection and processing. Survey leaders must be properly trained in completing the forms in the prescribed format. Training team members in the data processing is always beneficial to the project. During the inventory implementation phase, it is important that data...

  9. (pp. 43-45)

    In this section, a review of the Bangladesh Village Forest lnventory is made to illustrate lessons useful for other inventories. The main thrust of this project was on inventory of the major and minor forest produce in village forests (Hammermaster 1981, Westerling 1981). This was carried out on a national basis and its results must be viewed in this context.

    This was the first inventory of village trees in Bangladesh. It focussed on wood and selected non-timber products useful to villagers. New techniques had to be developed to suit the inventory situation within certain cost and time constraints placed on...