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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

PARTICIPATORY FORESTRY, HOW AND WHY?

Ranjan Attygalle
Mahaweli Authority, Polgolla

Agroforestry, Farm Forestry, Social Forestry, Community Forestry and more recently, Participatory Forestry have become catch words in the Forestry Sector of the developing countries since 1980.

The main reason for this was that these words, whatever their meaning, attract donors or are very often driven by donors. Thus they are loosely used, not fully understood and hardly put into practice.

If a forestry project is to be participatory, the users and beneficiaries should come into focus right from the inception. They should participate and contribute freely at the initial discussions and arrive at decisions themselves without outside influence. The outsiders, whether they are individuals or organizations, should pay the role of a facilitator during the process. This process has to continue right through the project.

Participatory forestry does not mean wages/ food for labour or voluntary labour for nursery and tree planting work. It also does not mean peasants giving their labour voluntarily to State or foreign funded projects.

Participatory forestry means active participation of users at the project preparation phase, implementation phase and finally at resource utilization phase. If this can be achieved, it is a fully fledged participatory project.

This paper outlines the concepts of participatory forestry and evaluates two case studies from the Upper Mahaweli Catchment.


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