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     EU-China Natural Forest Management Project
Add Time :2009-01-20      Hits:3453

Natural forest covers 70% of the forested area in China and is a major source of wood and non-wood forest products accounting for 90% of the stocking volume in all forests; however, degradation and depletion of the forest resource base over the past 50 years has led to serious environmental issues related to losses of soil, water and biodiversity resources. Soil erosion, water depletion and flooding in lower reaches of major river basins such as the Yangtze River have become serious issues. After the big flood of 1998, a logging ban was instituted and the Natural Forest Protection Programme was established. It is in this background that the World Bank decided to assist the Chinese Government in preparing the Sustainable Forestry Development Programme which includes three projects: the Plantation Establishment Project (World Bank loan), the Protected Areas Management Project (supported by the UN Global Environment Facility) and the Natural Forest Management Project (supported by the European Union).

The “EU-China Natural Forest Management Project” (NFMP) started in July 2003 for duration of seven years with a total financial outlay of € 22.50 million (225 million RMB) from the European Union and the Government of China. 

The Overall Objective of NFMP is “to improve the natural and human environment through sustainable management of natural forest resources in China” and the Project purpose is “to contribute to environmental stability and sustainable development of local communities by testing and demonstrating an increased range of options for sustainable management of natural forest resources for a variety of beneficiaries”.

The specific objectives of NFMP are to:
1. Develop viable natural forest management models and test them in pilot locations in the project area
2. Enable villagers in the Project townships and villages to improve their livelihood and to develop land use practices more compatible with sustainable development.
3. Draw lessons from local level experience, upgrade skills and support the spread of successful strategies and innovations in similar areas of the respective provinces and on national level, through an intensive programme of training and dissemination.

Project Strategies and Approach

The project is following a participatory approach where all the primary stakeholders are involved in planning, testing, demonstrating, monitoring, evaluating and learning from the various models for sustainable forest management. Innovations in the forest management planning process, focus on eco-system and forest as a source of multiple resources, instead of only timber, are other key elements of the project approach.

Strategies for solving the main stakeholder problems and for achieving environmental stability, sustainable development of forest villages, and sustainable management of natural forest resources involve five key development themes, namely:
1. social equity,
2. poverty alleviation,
3. resource security,
4. diversified livelihood base, and
5. environmental management.

The NFMP aims to integrate these elements into its process for participatory village development and forest management planning.

Project Components

(1) Natural Forest Management;
(2) Community Development;
(3) Information, Training and Dissemination; and
(4) Project Management and Institution Building.

Expected Outputs

By the end of the project, four project results are expected:
(1) improved and sustainable natural forest management models developed, tested and piloted;
(2) improved and sustainable land use practices and alternative and enhanced livelihoods developed;
(3) improved information generation on lessons learnt from different natural forest management and community development strategies and innovations and dissemination of this in formation to a wider audience; and
(4) improved project management and institution building aimed at strengthening natural forest management at all relevant levels.

Geographical Coverage

The project is testing, demonstrating and promoting co-management and participatory development approaches together with models for scientific management of natural forests covering 58 villages located in twelve townships in six counties of Hainan, Hunan and Sichuan provinces. Four State Forest Enterprises (SFE) and two Forest Farms are also covered under the project.

The focus of NFMP is on sustainable management of natural forests, which excludes other areas of forestry sector such as plantation forestry or nature reserves and wildlife conservation. These forests have been declared in Article 24 of the Forestry Act of 1998 as being in need of protection to conserve important forest ecosystems in China. Many of these areas have already been conserved under the nature reserves that have been established since 1965. However, there are large areas of natural forest outside of the nature reserves, mostly degraded, which are the target of the NFMP.

Project Stakeholders

Project beneficiaries include a wide range of stakeholders including:

  • Primary stakeholders such as
       o forest dwelling households that formerly used forest resources before the logging bans of the late 1990s
       o commercial forest enterprises still operating in the area;
       o State Forest Administration
       o Forest Management Bureau at Province and County levels
       o Village Committee
       o Township, County and Provincial Government
  • Secondary stakeholders such as the hydropower, tourism, domestic water, and irrigated agriculture industries; and
  • Tertiary stakeholders such as downstream communities affected by the impacts of forest degradation and depletion in upper watersheds and Chinese civil society which is interested in equitable access to resources and sustainable use of resources.

Project Definitions

Natural forests are defined as “forest communities that contain, or may be restored to, most of the principal characteristics of native ecosystems, including species composition, stand structure and ecological functions”.

Sustainable natural forest management is defined as “the process of managing permanent natural forest lands to maintain or restore natural forest quality – composition, diversity, structure, and ecological function – while producing the widest possible array of public benefits”.

Co-management is defined as “a situation where two or more stakeholders negotiate, define and agree amongst themselves on an equitable sharing of management functions, access rights, benefits, and responsibilities for a given area of natural forest”.

Copyright: International Committee for the Promotion of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives
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