Funded by the Worldwide Environment and Development Affinity Group of the Assets program of the Ford Foundation, ODI converted a set of documents - previously only available at the ODI library in London - into a freely accessible on-line resource. The documents are organised into several thematic collections, more or less chronological in order:
- Fuelwood: In the 1970s there was a widespread belief that by the end of the century much of Africa (and other areas) would have been deforested to provide fuelwood for the poor. The result was massive donor interest in fuelwood projects, many consisting of promotion of some forms of village woodlots. The documents in this collection chart the course of the debate as realisation grew that fuelwood use was having less of an impact on forests than previously assumed and that woodlots were not playing the hoped-for role in meeting fuelwood demand.
- Social Forestry: The term 'social forestry' was first used by the Indian government during the 1970s to describe forestry on village not forest reserve land. The materials in this collection discuss the huge India-wide programme of Forest Department-sponsored plantations (primarily to provide fuelwood) on a variety of 'wastelands' such as village grazing commons, government-owned revenue lands, roadsides, etc., undertaken with varying degrees of local participation. The documents reflect the widespread debate at the time over issues such as what the real objectives of social forestry activities were (or should have been) and what the outcomes were both in terms of stated objectives and unexpected results.
- Joint Forest Management (JFM) is the contractually-determined sharing of products, responsibilities, control and decision-making authority over forest lands between Forest Departments and local user groups. Growing out of the 'social forestry' experience in India, JFM aimed to create conditions at the local level that enabled improvements in forest conditions and productivity, at the same time as supporting a uitable distribution of forest products. JFM spread across India during the 1990s and, from there, has influenced developments around the world.
- Participatory Forest Management: The inclusion of communities in the management of state-owned or formerly state-owned forest resources has become increasingly common in the last 25 years. Almost all countries in Africa, and many in Asia, are promoting the participation of rural communities in the management and utilization of natural forests and woodlands through some form of Participatory Forest Management (PFM). Many countries have now developed, or are in the process of developing, changes to national policies and legislation that institutionalise PFM. Collectively these activities represent a new set of relationships between the state (usually through forest departments) and people living in and close to forests and woodlands.
- Gender and Forestry: The uneven distribution of benefits to different social groups from rural development forestry has been an area of concern highlighted in the literature and spans all of the thematic areas covered in our grey literature collections. Under this collection, which covers the ‘gender’ theme, we have included papers which explore differences between men and women in terms of participation in the design and implementation of projects, and uneven access to benefits from rural development forestry. Many of the papers go further to explore strategies that can be used to overcome the constraints faced by women in benefiting from such activities.
Senior Research Fellow