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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

SUSTAINING FORESTRY INTERVENTIONS FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT: RESULTS FROM A LEARNING PROCESS APPROACH IN HURULUWEWA

C M Wijayaratna* and A Widanapathirana**
*Forest Department
**International Irrigation Management Institute, Colombo

The lack of forest cover in critical areas of the Dry Zone has been an important issue affecting the sustainable management of other important resources, including water (particularly for irrigation) and in fact the productivity of the entire agricultural sector. In the meantime, forest development programmes have an inherent constraint in their inability to generate sufficient cash returns to the people, at least in the short run. It is of paramount importance that developments in forestry should be linked with the development of the entire farming system, so as to ensure the sustainability of forest as well as other resources and to lead to sustained socio-economic development. Studies indicate that approaches to participatory reforestation can be made effective if such interventions are designed on a farming systems perspective.

This paper presents the finding of a rural development exercise in Huruluwewa watershed, which initially focused on reforestation under the Participatory Forestry Project (PFP). It describes the process of transforming participatory forestry interventions to general rural development facilitated by the Shared Control of Natural Resources (SCOR) Project. It also discusses the main advantages of this approach.

Among the key emerging issues of the learning process described in the paper are: the benefits to local people resulting from participatory reforestation; the process and the outcome of the transformation of interventions in forestry to wider rural development; the outcome of the integration of different projects operating in the same area; the role of agencies in facilitating the rural development process initiated by people's organizations.

Finally, the paper discusses the programme and policy implications of the above case study.


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