Stakeholders Approach for Sustainable Management of Forest Resources

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Nagm El Din Goutbi, El Hassan
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The adopted forest management approaches in Sudan are now generally recognized as being ineffective and unsustainable. Many forest areas are experiencing continuous management problems and loss of desired values. The Jebel Marra Forest Circle (JMFC) is one of the forest resource in Sudan that faces such management problems despite the numerous efforts spent by the Forest National Cooperation (FNC) and the outside donors. The main issue considered by this research is that forest management planning in Sudan in general, and in JMFC, the study area, in particular has not yet adequately considered the various stakeholders involved and their various needs and interests, particularly the basic needs of the local communities. The present study considers application of the stakeholders approach to the forest planning and management in JMFC, with the objective of improving the effectiveness and the sustainability of forest management, through the incorporation of the various needs and interests of relevant stakeholders. Two main categories of stakeholders have been identified in JMFC (Government institutions and local people). Two separate forms of questionnaires were used for data collection and a two to three stages random snowball sampling was applied to allow the stakeholders to freely select their representatives for the interview. Group discussions were also held to identify conflicts and common ground areas with respect to forest uses and management. The analysis reveals that, the natural forests in JMFC constitute the fundamental source of the multiple socio-economic and environmental values desired by the various stakeholders involved. Although the stated forest policy called for the protection, conservation and development of the natural forests, management in MFC has almost neglected the natural forests and concentrated on exotic plantations raised mainly to achieve national interests. Natural forests have been left to be protected using the punishment measures contained in the forest legislation and no management plan has been prepared for any of the natural forests, to facilitate sustainable production capacity and enhance their vital environmental roles. In such situation, dependent stakeholders continued to extract their rational and legitimated needs and interests from the natural forest on exploitation rather than management system. However, the unmanaged, unlimited and uncoordinated access and utilization of the natural forests by the various stakeholders has resulted in the present socio- economic and environment problems. The study concluded that polices for JMFC need revision to incorporate the various needs and interests of the principal stakeholders involved in the area. Management should reflect policy intentions and should consider local needs as well as the national interests. Stakeholders should be adequately involved and their indigenous knowledges should be sufficiently consulted and utilized. The responsibility of JMFC need to be shared between relevant stakeholders particularly FNC and the local leaders.
Stakeholders Approach for Sustainable Management of Forest Resources