Environmental evaluation of social forestry in District Malakand

Social forestry is basically a participatory approach also termed as integrated forestry. It is forestry of the, for the people, by the people. It is a sort of approach where people of the local community interact each other discuss and think about the problems of the locality regarding the forestry.

The basic aim of social forestry is to meet the fuel, fodder and timber needs of the people. The involvement of social scientists in this movement helps to understand the attitude, aspiration and needs of the rural as well as urban development. It gives highly fruitful results to interact with the community, discuss the problems, think over them and then make solutions and decisions. As social forestry is mainly concerned with the production of fuel, fodder and timber so the use of a healthy and quality stock along with the adequate management practices will ensure the greater productivity in social forestry plantations.

Social forestry is a newly developed practice not only in Pakistan but throughout the world. The study focuses on the major issues in current thinking about theory of the social forestry development in Asia. The forest of these issues concerns the cause of deforestation. The governmental view is that deforestation is a gradual process drive by community based factors, whereas the community view is that deforestation is a stochastic process driven by external, political and economic factors. The two explanations have different implications for where the ‘problematic’ of social forestry is located in the forest community or in the forest agency and how, therefore it is to be addressed. The second issue concerned is that when social forestry interventions are carried out. The concept of a window of opportunity for interventions reflects a widespread belief that it is important when interventions are carried out with both the costs and benefits of interventions increasing as it is timed earlier and decreasing as it is timed later. The key and major determinant of the best time for intervention is the receptivity of the forest agency and the society. The purpose of intervention is to strengthen receptivity and other factors conductive to change, to hasten extent processes of change, and to minimize the possibility of a reversal of direction.

The third issue is whether the focus of social forestry intervention should be on state lands or community lands. While there are logical reasons for either focus, the continuing vacillation between then suggests that lack of a theoretical perceptive with sufficient breadth to encompass them both. Whatever the focus, altitudinal change within the forest agency is usually mandated in social forestry interventions, but is rarely accompanied with the intervention in the underlying power relations, reflecting a continuing difficulty in viewing the forest agency sociologically.

The last and final issue is the unintended consequences of social forestry intervention. These include redirection of the intervention as a result of bureaucratic resistance or negative feedback and secondary consequences stemming from the dynamic responses by the forest, forest communities and forest agencies to changes in their relationship. The all mentioned issues are just issues which are to be handled through various types of conferences and meetings as social forestry is for the people and by the people.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION OF SOCIAL FORESTRY

 Scope for increasing the profitability of social Forestry

There is a close forward and backward linkages between wood produced on farms lands, the utilization sector, both public and private. Trees when planted on farm lands give handsome return even on short rotation. Quantity of wood available from a single tree of eleven different species has been assessed. It has been multiplied with 100 trees. Weight of one m3 of wood and its value in rupees to the farmer at the rate of Rs. 40 kg of wood has been calculated in the table below.

 

 Constraints for Social forestry

            There are of course possible constraints: Problems of competition for water and nutrients, and problems with respect to competition between the trees and the agricultural crops for solar energy. Social forestry is a system of land management in which tree crops are grown together with agricultural crops, one objective being to optimize and sustain the joint yields of the combined crops. We have examined those characteristics of forest stands that contribute to the reduction in nutrient levels in the soil, and the amelioration of the micro-climate in the forest area. These, it is has been submitted, would positively contribute to the optimization and sustention of the joint yields of the combined crops, provided that the influence of the tree crops on the agricultural crops and vice versa do not adversely contrast the positive influence of the forest. In other words, provided that competition among the different system in an adverse manner.
The socio-economic factors on which the potential value of social forestry and agro forestry is premised are perhaps more straight forward. Accordingly, the growers do not prefer to cultivate with agriculture crops due to effective production, beside trees. Long term return is another factor which respites the growers. The ill-effect of these practices damages the crops and  reduces the agriculture lands especially along with shelter belts.

The usual objection to raising trees on farm and waste lands are that the tree cost shade, take away water and nutrients; birds sit on the trees and pick up grain; the trees serve as alternate hosts of insects and diseases; roots obstruct ploughing, trees do not allow aerial spray etc. social economically the traditional grazing freedom and rights conflict with the tree planting efforts as the movement of cattle is restricted. There is inherent fear that the government might take over the land after initial tree planting officials and the people living around living around forest areas continues and leads to lot of mistrust.

Farm trees on one hand add stability to the fickle economy of poor farmer and resolve the sudden brunch of infrequent demands of funds on the other hands.

Social forestry sustainable management system for land that combines tree and shrubs with agriculture crops or animal’s fir the maximum production and reducing risk. There may be different combination of trees and agricultural corps as given below:

  1. Shelterbelts and windbreaks.
  2. Alley cropping.
  3. Shifting cultivation.
  4. Trees with pastures and livestock.
  5. Home gardens.
  6. Compact plantation surrounded by agricultural crops.

 

Evaluation

Evaluation research is a robust area of activity devoted to collecting, analyzing, and interpreting information on the need for implementation of and effectiveness and efficiency of intervention efforts to better the lot of humankind by improving social conditions and community life. Evaluations are undertaken for a variety of reasons: to judge the worth of ongoing programs and to estimate the usefulness of attempts to improve them; to assess the utility of innovative programs and initiatives; to increase the effectiveness of program management and administration; and to meet various accountability requirements. Evaluation may also contribute to substantive and methodological social science knowledge.

Environmental Evaluation

            In contrast, evaluation can be construed as the assessment of the results of implementing the program. On-going evaluations a means of examining the most important direct effects of the program concurrently wit is implementation either is generally or environmentally. This form of evaluation, sometimes called beneficiary evaluation, is meant to serve as an extension of the monitoring system. Evaluation is considered to be the functions performed socially responsible for the success or failure of a participatory program.

Evaluation is differentiated from on-going evaluation by being conducted when a project or programme is completed as a means of assessing its overall impact and achievements. This type of evaluation, while not inherently undesirable, is complex, has a rude desire for data and usually requires sophisticated analytical methodologies and considerable financial and computing resources.

Progress Monitoring and Evaluation

Physical and financial progress monitoring activities can be found in almost all types of development projects. In the Social Forestry Project, Physical and financial progress monitoring is obligatory both to the Forest Department and the donor. In the design of the M&E system it is attempted to merge the two systems while maintaining the requirements of reporting to the different outside agencies. This is to minimize the workload of the forest Department staff especially the field staff.

Moreover it is recommended that within the Project system, physical and financial achievements are to be reported jointly in an overall review from (quarterly or half year).

The Project should continue to gather physical progress data at project level on a three-monthly basis. Besides the monitoring of progress in implementations of interventions also progress in carrying out each step in the extension approach will have to be monitored per village. For this purpose the mission forms which should replaced the old separate forms used by the FD and the project. The coding system for villages and land use unit (LUUs) should be applied in these monitoring forms.

All the three-monthly information complied should be stored in a spreadsheet, and maintained by the M&E Units. This spreadsheet can easily be used for several purposes and for different overviews. The spreadsheet will contain:

  • The total and yearly planned output targets of the projects.
  • The previous achievements.
  • The achievements during the last year.
  • The accumulated total achievements

In light of coordination in planning and implementations between all activities on the social fore

 DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA

Location and Geography

The Malakand District is situated in the Northern area of Pakistan in the KPK province. It lies 34-22 to 35-43 North Latitude and 71-36 to 72-12 East Longitude. The elevation of the District ranges from 600 to 800 meters in the North. The valley is surrounded by steep hillsides covering about 50% of the whole area. It is bounded on the North by Dir District, on the South-West by Charsada District and on the West by the parts of Bajawar Agency.

Population Size and Growth Rate

The population dynamics of the District Malakand is shown in the following table;

 

S.No Years Population Years Growth Rate
1 September 1972 185,875 1951 4.1%
2 March 1981 257,797 1961 2.8%
3 March 1983 408,004 1972 3.9%
4 April 1998 452,291 1981 3.3%

 

Now the population is more than 500,000 and the growth rate is 2.6%

Source; Agricultural Statistics of KPK. Year 2010

Malakand District comprises of 77 villages, having 53000 households and half of the household are landless. Total area of Malakand District is 952 Square Kilometers or 235,144 acres, having a population of 452,291 (Census Report 1998) Besides this there are 9,900 farm households with the total farm population 140,500.

There are different tribes in Malakand District but the main tribes are Yousafzai/Afghan, Baizai, Ranizai, Utmankhel, Piran, Syed and Gujar. The majority of the people are Yousafzai Pathans. The average family size of the farm households in Malakand District is 8.5, out of which about 2 are adult male, 2 are adult female while the rest are children.

Education level

Malakand District has a literacy rate of 39.5% for both sexes in which male are 55.2% and female are 22.7% Most of the farmers are illiterate i.e 70% are illiterate while the rest have some education.

 

Language

The people of Malakand speak Pashto as their local language. Although different dialects are in use but the language is the same that is Pashto. Some are also able to understand and speak Urdu, while a few can understand and speak English also. Another language called gujro has also been noticed in the area.

Religion

Islam is the religion over here. People are mostly religious minded and they prefer religious education over English education especially in Rural areas. There are a lot of Islamic institutions (Deeni Madaris) and the number of mosques is also very large.

People

The people of Malakand are hardworking, however they have traditional agricultural background. As the soil is rich and fertile so the people get full advantage of it. The people use mechanical means for cultivation and hence improved the varieties of Wheat, Rice and Maize. The inhabitants of the area are also interested in raising of the fruit orchards which are helpful in improving their socio-economic conditions.

Cropping Pattern

Cropping pattern means the time value of different crops. The cropping intensity in Malakand is 125% Total reported area is 52134 hectare of which 88% is cultivated while 12% is uncultivated. The farmers grow many crops including food, fodder and cash crops as well as vegetables and fruit orchards under different cropping system. Wheat is the major Rabi crop grown on 72% of the total Rabi and Kharif fodder that is mainly composed of maize is the major Kharif crop grown on 13% of the Kharif area. Other major crops are barely and repassed/mustard, 10% and 8% respectively of the total Rabi area and rice and maize 38% and 30% of the total irrigated Kharif area. Sugarcane is also important crop on Malakand grown on 27% of the irrigated Kharif area.

Land tenancy

Land tenancy is related somewhat with the ownership. The woody vegetation on the agricultural land belongs to the owner of that land. However the tenants if any can ask permission for the use of the branches of those trees and shrubs for the firewood and fodder.

In Malakand District about 50% of the area is arable. The remaining area is hilly. Almost all arable lands are privately held. About 63% of the households are landless who mostly depend on farm labour for their livelihood. Among the land owners 32% households have less than 4 hectares. Rice, wheat, corn and sugarcane are the main crops on irrigated lands. Portion of irrigated land is also used for fruit orchards of citrus, peach, plum, apricot and guava. The people of the area are much more interested in raising the fast growing tree species around their fruit orchards or on the boundaries of their agricultural fields, such as Populous deltoids, Ailanthusaltissima, Melia azedarach and Eucalyptus species. They grow these trees for the timber as well as fuel wood production for their domestic consumption.

The people of the area have a good reputation of hard working and they are famous for their hard work and that is the reason that they use their small landholding upto maximum potential. About 40% of the farmers depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The hillsides are generally owned by the communities or sometimes sections of the community. About 73% of the people have ownerships rights to the hillsides. However under some management which is often not there, these are open to free access by all. The hillsides are mostly used for grazing and fuel wood collection except some areas in the west of the District. The hills are badly degraded and have very low productivity. The present forest cover is estimated as less than 4% of the total area. The people are simple, hard working and speaking the simple language Pashto.

Climate

Climate means the environmental conditions. The climate of the area is dry sub tropical. It has hot summer and cold winters. The average annual maximum and minimum temperatures are about 29 0C and 12 0C respectively. The annual rainfall varies between 600 mm to 1100 mm. The rainfall is erratic, mostly received in monsoon that is July – August. Snowfall is much rare and seldom occurs on the tops of some mountains, which is again followed by immediate melting. Frost commonly occurs and starts by the mid of the November. The overall weather is extreme.

Flora and Fauna

Every locality has its specified Flora and Fauna and so this area has. The common flora of the area are

Olea ferruginea, Acacia modesta, dodonea viscose, Pistacia integrrima, Carrisa spinarum, Melia Azedarach, Acacia nilotica, zizyphus mauritiana, Zizyphus nummularia, Morus alba, Eucalyptus cammaldulensis, Pinus roxburghii etc. The common fauna of the area is Lopus nigricollis (Hare) Canis lopus (Wolf) Canis anreus (Jakal) Capra falconeri (Markhor).

 

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 Conclusion

According to the findings of the research the project intervention resulted in enhance awareness among the local people regarding natural resource conservation.

Before project intervention 13% respondents had grown tree on their farmlands but after project implementation the number of tree growers increased to 26.25%

About 100% respondents were of the view that project interventions had positive impact of social forestry on environment. It concludes that erosion was decreased and biodiversity was improved as a result of social forestry.

Majority of the respondents were not members of the VDCs established by the project in the area. This shows poor participation of the people in the community social organization. However there was generally high participation of the local people in the project activities. There was also slight increase in the income of the respondents.

Ranges were improved due to adoption of scientific principles of range management. Knowledge of trees and grasses and management of natural resources was improved as a result of various trainings conducted, by the project.

The study conducted shows that 56% if people of the target area are illiterate, which is unfortunate for any area in this technological era. If the education level in the target area had been higher it would have shown better results regarding training, seminars, village development communities (VDCs) nurseries and management of natural resources.

 

7.2 Recommendations

Based on the result and study’s conclusions the following suggestions recommended.

  1. Establishment of specific use-oriented plantation like; energy plantation for fuelwood production, fodder plantation for fodder production are conservation plantation for soil conservation. Promising and well adapted local and exotic tree/shrub species to be planted at wider spacing considering the local features (rock, ridges, gullies etc.)
  2.  Improvement in crop yield through introduction of high yielding varieties of forage and cereal crops beside social forestry activities.
  3. Improvement in livestock production though adequate veterinary services, breeding and better feeding including (stall feeding).
  4. Preparation and implementation of grazing plans and suitable grazing systems for range lands and plantations.
  5. Adaptation of improved soil and water conversation measures on all lands. Contour bindings, shallow staggered trenching and water harvesting technique be applied on hotter aspects and shallow soil sites.
  6. The lesions learnt during the project may be replicated in other parts of the project.
  7. Research may be conducted on the wider evaluation of the project by including other areas which were not covered in the current city.
  8. It is also recommended that the vegetation composition and biomass assessment be conducted to determine the quantitative impact on vegetation cover and natural resource conservation the project area.

The activities carried out by the social forestry project should be evaluated regularly to assess its effectiveness in the long term.

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