The involvement of local communities that directly depend on forest resources is a precondition for the success of community-based projects. Local communities can be involved by designing a project to develop local skills, create employment in the project, and promote equity, all of which will lead to the long-term sustainability of the project activity. In the Scolel Te project, for instance, local communities and their agroforestry traditions are included in the project design process (Imaz et al., 1998). On the other hand, the ECOLAND project in Costa Rica has caused discontent among local residents who did not sell their lands and now face hardships caused by the inclusion of their lands in a national park (Goldberg, 1998). It is also important that the host country and the project designers recognize the land titles and legal rights of indigenous people to ensure their effective participation in the project (see Box 5-5 for a case involving the social forestry program in India).
Box 5-5. Social Forestry Program in India
Several developmental projects in the forestry sector have been implemented in the tropics that could be sources for understanding the possible implications of future LULUCF projects. One such afforestation program implemented in India was funded by several donor agencies during the 1980s. In terms of number of trees planted (18,876 million trees in 1980-87, Chambers et al., 1989), the project was a success. The lessons learned from the program are briefly described below (Saxena, 1997).
Social forestry projects were implemented by the Forest Department in India with the goal of meeting the demands of rural people and reducing the burden on production forestry. The species planted in the village commons and revenue lands were mainly monocultures of Eucalyptus, Casuarina, and Acacia sp. Tree planting and management was carried out by the Forest Department in the initial years and later handed over to the Panchayat (village governing body).
Multiplicity of Donors
In bioenergy projects, local people could be trained in the operation and maintenance of biogas plants; this training could lead to the creation of new jobs in rural areas and reduce migration to urban centers, thereby achieving equitable development between rural and urban areas (Ravindranath and Hall, 1995). It would also promote the sustainability of the project by providing financial, social, and environmental benefits even after the investors have withdrawn.
The success of community management projects also depends on equitable discussion, participation, and distribution of benefits, which is crucial for the development of rural areas (Sokona et al., 1999). It is important to have institutional arrangements to ensure land tenure and product ownership by local communities or to meaningfully involve local participants in decision-making processes regarding species choice, mode of production, harvesting, and benefit sharing that encourages them to commit themselves to the protection and management of LULUCF projects.
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