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Forestry Extension and Outreach

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The objective of forestry extension and outreach is to promote problem solving and participatory multi-stakeholder approaches to enhance the contribution of trees and forests to sustainable land use. Forestry extension mainly focuses on the facilitation pertinent to the livelihoods of
stakeholders by involving them into forestry and NTFP related activities. All the subnational entities claim that they have been effective in reaching out to the people and participatory decision-making process is followed in forest management. They, however, recognize the need to further develop their capacities in this field of participatory forestry.

Presently, extension services are limited to small-scale agroforestry, guzara forests, farm forestry, and private forestry (hurries & irrigated plantations on farmland). Application of this concept (and collaborative forest management/community/participatory approaches) state-controlled forests is generally lacking. Forestry extension not only can support the departments and communities in planning and implementation of sustainable forest management approaches, but also, in making the arrangements for benefit distribution with all stakeholders involved. In the context of REDD+ the benefits accruing from result-oriented REDD+ actions could be transferred to legal owners and right holders of forests in accordance with the benefit distribution mechanism which is yet to be developed as prescribed in Pakistan’s National REDD+ strategy.

Instruments mostly applied in the forestry extension service include, face-to-face communication, use of print and electronic media, demonstration sites, vocational training and education, websites, and social media. Incentive-based motivation approaches are also applied, e.g., payment for community watch and ward.

Communication with the general public on implementation of REDD+ activities, being a complex subject is still in its infancy mode. In this regard the National REDD+ Office (NRO) Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) has developed a Strategic Communication Plan. This plan suggests platforms for stakeholders’ engagement to pursue and ensure implementation of REDD+ activities and provides future guidelines for REDD+ related awareness activities and outreach and communication tools both at national and provincial levels.

Evolution of Forestry Extension and Outreach

Forestry extension, social and participatory forest management approaches were introduced in the 1990s. Anthropogenic pressure on forestry resources (such as livestock grazing, illegal tree cutting, conversion of forest lands, encroachment, political interference) was recognized by various researchers with disaggregated analysis on what was to be acknowledged as local need and could not be termed as intrusion, and malpractices that needed a governance-oriented approach than mere punitive arrangements. The narrative in Favour of participation of local communities became strong and received recognition for sustainable forest management. Collaborative forest management approaches were experimented in different tenures (such as protected, communal and private forest areas) and ecological settings (high altitude coniferous forests and lower altitude forests and farmlands). These projects included the Swiss funded Kalam Integrated Development Project, the Dutch Funded Social Forestry Project Malakand-Dir,
the German funded Kaghan and Siran Valley Development Projects, EU funded Environmental Rehabilitation Projects, the USAID funded Farm Forestry Project, the ADB funded Forestry Sector Project, the Swiss funded support to the Forest Management Centre on Joint Forest Management and the Swiss funded Integrated Natural Resource Management Project. Most of these projects were operational in KP and GB. Whereas the afforestation schemes by Agha Khan Rural Support Programme, funded by NORAD and others in GB, the social forestry projects funded by the USAID in Punjab and Sindh and Farm Forestry Support Project funded by SDC mainly focused on promoting tree plantations and forestry on farm/private lands. These
projects clearly indicated the opportunities for collaborative forest management.

In KP these initiatives led to the adoption of a new Forest Policy 1999 and Forest Ordinance 2002 and the creation of a number of institutional organs such as the Forest Round Table and Forest Commission. A forestry extension directorate was established in the Forest Department along with other thematic directorates to support territorial forestry. While the reform process was complete before the projects phased out, the change management within the structurally reformed department slowed down, especially with respect to full implementation of community participatory approach. In the other provinces, the projects did not have the same scale and effects.

Somehow, farm forestry was accepted by the citizens and farmers as a valuable intervention in all the provinces. Ideas of collaborative forest management, however, are not applied yet. Currently few NGOs and CBOs have the capability to undertake capacity building or implementation in the field of forestry extension. In the public sector, with the exception of KP Forest Department and the recently established extension wing in Punjab Forest Department, no such activities are operational in other sub-national forest entities. Sindh Forest and Wildlife department has a dedicated Social Forestry wing headed by a CCF and its mandate is limited to promotion of social/farm forestry and urban forestry. On the contrary, agriculture departments all over the country have well established extension and outreach services and programmes to encourage, motivate and equip farmers with innovative approaches and technologies. Linking and learning with the agricultural departments may benefit the forestry sector, especially
regarding farm forestry approaches and interventions7

Sub-national Assessment

The situation at sub-national level regarding public engagement is not fully optimal yet. Only KP has some sort of forestry extension setup on permanent basis, and they are capitalizing on this for REDD+ mass communication purposes as well. In Sindh and Balochistan, the forestry departments are mainly dependent upon social media, website, print and electronic media to reach out to citizens, whereas the Punjab Forest Department relies mainly on project specific activities. For successful implementation of REDD+, the forest departments stressed the need for
development of a comprehensive mass communication strategy to ensure meaningful engagements and role of civil society, forest owners, private sector, and local communities in forest management including restoration, conservation, and enhancement. The AJK Forest Department suggested a stronger and more incentivized communication system during the implementation of current REDD+ activities. Due to fear of public mistrust, GB suggested waiting till REDD+ pilot implementation shows results in terms of carbon trading. Although REDD+ implementation activities have gained momentum during the last few years, continuation of these activities as a regular function would require major structural changes in the existing conventional forest management systems.

Tables 4 and 5 summaries self-assessment on adoption of forest extension and outreach mechanism by the provincial forestry departments. Towards the end of 20th century, extension and outreach tools were used by the forestry departments at project level, mainly supported by bilateral and multilateral financial assistance.

Data in tables 4 and 5 shows that there is need for improving outreach mechanisms in all six provincial departments which will require improving both technical and human capacities within the forest departments. Existence of extension wings in KP, Sindh and Punjab Forest departments may facilitate this process while the rest of the three provincial departments may need structural adjustments to create extension wings. All the provinces need to agree on a meaningful definition of extension, conducts training need assessment and train staff on extension approaches and techniques. The GB has yet to establish a training facility for staff. The Forestry department of the Karakoram University could be a potential resource for training
and development of extension material.

Table 4: Assessment of Extension & Outreach instruments used at Sub-national Level

Table 5: Status of Forestry Extension Systems at Sub-national level

Forestry Education, Research and Extension

Forestry education is essential to understand, acquire necessary specialization and achieve the objective of sustainable forest management. In the past the Pakistan Forest Institute (PFI) was the only forestry education, research, and training institution in the country. A number of other
universities such as Faisalabad Agriculture University, Haripur University, Karakoram University etc. currently award BSc and MSc degrees in forest sciences. Since 1961, Faisalabad Agriculture University has a Department of Forestry and Range Management, offering degree courses since 1977. It is a well-established department and also offers courses on Agro-Forestry whereas other universities are more recent (box 3).

PFI is affiliated with the University of Peshawar since 1958. Before 2011, PFI was administratively attached with the Federal Government. After the 18th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan which resulted in devolution of powers and resources, PFI was devolved to Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department, KP with effect from July 2011. Even after devolution, the institute continues to cater for the whole country.

Box 3: Forestry Training & Education Institutions of Pakistan

The existing curricula of forestry education in the country pays, however, limited attention to forestry extension and are not well aligned to the larger demand of new sectoral policies, emerging forestry concepts, private sector needs, and forest dependent communities. The training at PFI or other institutes is not designed to train foresters with extension skills. Well trained forest extension agents are vital to address real problems confronted by the forestry sector together with forest dependent communities and the public at large. The curricula require to cover new areas such as forestry extension, climate change (REDD+), forest biodiversity, sustainable forest management, trees outside forests, agroforestry, farm forestry, NTFP’s, joint forest management, ecotourism. The forest education should include subjects (e.g., participatory management of forestry resources) other than the traditional subjects. Forestry education needs to be fed with latest research findings on sustainable forest management. Similarly, forestry extension needs strong linkages with research institutions to tackle issues and problems in forest management. Currently, Pakistan does not have adequate facilities and capacity (with the exception of PFI and PFRI) to conduct research on forest subjects especially on issues related to various forest ecozones. To build capacity of existing institution, collaboration with international research institutions is suggested.

Improved coordination between forestry extension, education and research may provide access to new knowledge and technologies that can be used for sustainable management of natural resources. Also, this connectivity can inspire research and education to become more demand based and practical. At the moment, this mutual collaboration among relevant institutions is relatively weak.

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