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NATURAL CAPITAL

BOX 5.2

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Reform of forest tenure in Albania and China

In Albania serious degradation of the forests and pastures was observed in the early transition years. To address the problem, the government reformed a nd decent rali zed national i nstit utions a nd increased support to pasture and forest management at the local level. Reforms transferred management rights of forests and pastures to local communities. To deal with fi re management and control illegal logging, the government adopted a cross-sectoral approach. It provided local investment support for the restoration of watersheds, forests, and pasture land using participatory planning approaches. This support included small-scale investments in the planting of forests and orchards in degraded lands, the thinning and cleaning of degraded forests and pastures, and measures to control erosion and grazing. This mix of policy, social, and natural capital investments enhanced resilience (erosion control and soil restoration), yielded environmental benefits (carbon sequestration), increased efficiency (greater

regimes (box 5.2). But there have been few assessments of the impact of changes in forests management regimes on the rate of deforestation or the productivity of forests. A review of 42 studies on community forest management concludes that little is known about the effect of community forest management on improving the productivity of forests or reducing poverty (Bowler and others 2010). Another problem is that assessments of the economic value of forests are rare, especially in developing countries, particularly when it comes to valuing the economic contribution of nontimber forest products. These products are undervalued because, in many countries, they are not reflected in national accounts systems, in part because they are produced informally. For example, in Europe, where these products are economically marginal, they were valued at $7 billion in 2010. In contrast, in Africa, where they are much more important economically, they totaled only an estimated $0.5 billion (FAO 2011).

pasture and forest productivity), created jobs, and reduced poverty. In China, the government has made substantial investments in tree planting across the country over the past 25 years to restore environmental balance and secure supplies of raw materials. It has also reformed forest user rights to collective forests (forests under the control of provinces and other subnational authorities). Like reforms to property rights of agricultural lands, these reforms sought to harness the productive energies of rural households and communities. They amount to the largest transfer of forest wealth ever recorded. Most reforms involve provisions that offer individual households a large degree of economic autonomy and independence to manage the forests, with households and farmers’ groups receiving certifi cates of use rights. Source: World Bank 2010b, 2010c.

Where these assessments do exist, they suggest that a number of factors limit the value added from these resources. A meta-study of 61 case studies of production of and trade in nontimber forest products in Africa, Asia, and Latin America fi nds that, by and large, commercialization has not helped reduce poverty, for four reasons: • Resources are often collected under open access regimes, where overexploitation is common, leading to rent dissipation. • Access to markets tends to be poor, limiting economic returns. • Fluctuations in quantity and quality make commercialization of nontimber forest products difficult. • Middlemen often capture the bulk of added value (Belcher and others 2005). As with capture fi sheries, increasing the economic returns from natural forests sustainably requires a package of measures that includes strengthening property rights; assessing the economic value of forests; and adopting measures, such as better market access

Inclusive Green Growth  

As the global population heads toward 9 billion by 2050, decisions made today will lock countries into growth patterns that may or may not b...

Inclusive Green Growth  

As the global population heads toward 9 billion by 2050, decisions made today will lock countries into growth patterns that may or may not b...