forestry can be defined as "forestry designed
and applied to meet local social, household, and
environmental needs and to favour local economic
development. It is implemented by, or with, the
participation of communities".
are 3 main areas in which social forestry is seen
to be a valid development intervention:
Many areas throughout the African Continent are
in the throes of a severe environmental and human
crisis, with rural areas in particular exhibiting
the pressing problems of poverty, disease, hunger,
and environmental degradation. One core problem
of environmental degradation is deforestation,
which results in changed soil properties due to
increased temperature, exposure to rainfall, and
altered litter input, leading to increased soil
erosion and a decrease in soil fertility. Tree
planting via social forestry has the potential
to help address some of these conditions.
In many rural and urban areas unemployment is
endemic, and poverty is a reality with many families
operating in a financial survival mode. Social
forestry is seen by many as offering a development
intervention that offers a chance for people to
generate income for themselves, through activities
aimed at food and tree product production.
Energy for heating, lighting, and cooking is a
basic need for everyone. Today people have access
to a variety of energy sources, including coal,
paraffin, batteries, fuelwood, and electricity.
Nevertheless, many millions of Africans still
depend on traditional energy resources such as
fuelwood, dung, and crop residues to meet their
energy needs. It is in order to address this that
social forestry interventions aimed at fuel supply
have also been developed.
Social forestry is important because it offers
very promising solutions to help meet the energy
needs of people, combat erosion, increase agricultural
production, and provide employment opportunities,
as well as enabling people to grow trees for food,
fodder, and other uses. Democritus has
extensive experience in social forestry planning,
implementation, and monitoring with
team members having been involved in a number
of major programmes over the past decade.