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The Success of Vanuatu

Research reports

Through an evaluation of the Local Supply Plantation programme in Vanuatu, this paper illustrated how misunderstandings of local needs and conditions can stall tree-planting projects. Twelve years after the programme initiated a series of small privately owned plantations to meet national timber needs, neither demand nor supply were as high as projected. Markets for timber did not develop because rural people continued to build with poles gathered freely from natural forests, while the plantation owners invested little because financial returns were uncertain. Perhaps the most fundamental factor behind their low interest was insecure tenure over the planted land; the government had signed agreements with individuals or small groups only, but much of the land was under dispute and/or held as a common property resource to which non-signatories now had no legal claim.

Julian Gayfer