Evaluation of the performance of joint forest management (JFM) programme : case of Dambwa Forest Reserve in Livingstone District, Zambia

Phiri, Maxwell (2009-12)

Thesis (MScFor (Forest and Wood Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.



ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The past forest management strategies in Zambia did not allow participation of local communities in the management of Forest Reserves and sharing of benefits. The Zambia forest sector was reviewed between 1987 and 1997 culminating into the National Forestry Policy of 1998 and Forests Act of 1999, which provided for joint or participatory forestry management and share of derived benefits. In 2000, the Forestry Department initiated a pilot project to develop and implement JFM. This study was conducted in Dambwa JFM area in Livingstone to evaluate local people’s participation in JFM; perceptions on the effect of JFM on local livelihoods; and the impact of JFM on forest condition. The study was conducted through the use of household questionnaires, interviews with key informants, focus group discussions, field observation, and vegetation assessment. The results showed that more than half (68%) of the respondents were aware of JFM and almost the same number (64%) participated in JFM project. Participation of men in JFM activities was higher than women, although more women attended meetings than men. The results further showed that local management structures existed at district, forest area and village levels for coordination of JFM activities. Forest User Groups (FUGs) were also established in the area. The prominent FUG was the Mungongo oil pressing and was the only FUG functional at the time of the study. Forest Management Committee, Village Resources Management Committee and FUG members were found to be more involved in JFM activities than other members of the local community. Only a small number (8%) of local people reported improvement in household socio-economic conditions after the introduction of JFM, while the majority (79%) perceived the Forestry Department to be the major beneficiary in the JFM. The study revealed that there was a loss of enthusiasm in JFM among local people largely due to the absence of economic benefits and limited decision-making powers. However, the relationship between local people and Forestry Department was reported to have improved. The overall forest stocking was found to be low (219 SPH) with nearly all (90%) of the stems below 30 cm DBH, including the selected valuable tree species of Baikiaea plurijuga, Pterocarpus angolensis, Guibourtia coleosperma, Afzelia quanzensis and Colophospermum mopane. This implies that the forest area was previously overexploited rendering it uneconomical for commercial exploitation to provide benefits to local people on sustainable basis. However, the results showed a lot of saplings (10,000 SPH) in the Forest Reserve signifying adequate regeneration, including that of the valuable species, except for Afzelia quanzensis and Guibourtia coleosperma. The abundant natural regeneration implies that there was adequate forest protection and management following the introduction of JFM, which enhances regeneration. It is recommended that the Forestry Department should continue with public awareness on JFM to increase understanding and stakeholders’ involvement. The Forests Act of 1999 should be commenced and amended to support full implementation of JFM. The value of the forest also needs to be enhanced to increase benefit for local people and long-term conservation.

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