The Forest Action Network has been formed in Kenya. The network collaborates with local communities to find ways of exploiting forest resources in a sustainable manner. The network is investigating how several communities have been able to conserve their forest resources using traditional management systems. The network also plans on working closely with the Kenyan government to develop ways in which communities living near forests can take part in the management of forests.
Deforestation is a severe economic and environmental problem in Mexico, as elsewhere in the world. In the state of Oaxaca the Huitzo community in the valley of Oaxaca, has suffered much deforestation due to commercial and domestic uses as well as fire. Through local effort the community has begun a reforestation project to combat erosion and reduced water tables. Another community, Yavesia, in the northern mountains, still has a large virgin forest, due principally to the community's refusal to sell wood to paper companies. To further protect their resources, a local women's group has initiated the installation of wood-efficient clay stoves.
The sustainable use of mangrove forests can effectively contribute to their conservation. The experience with an integrated conservation-development project in St. Lucia showed that charcoal producers using mangrove fuelwood resources in a Marine Reserve Area have successfully changed their harvesting practices, reversing a trend of mangrove destruction. The conditions under which this change occurred included strengthening the organization of local users and their resource-use rights, and building a community-based management system, leading to the avoidance of open-access conditions. Surveys of the mangrove, undertaken before and after management intervention, showed that while the mean stand diameter of the fuelwood trees did not change significantly, there was an increase in the density of stems and in total basal area of timber.
India's experiment with Social Forestry revealed to government agencies the importance of adequately involving forest-dependent populations at the onset of any public participation scheme. This represents a fundamental change for forest agencies -- field officers are no longer principally guards and enforcers of forest land policies, but increasingly are serving as technical advisors to communities in their emerging support role in forest management.
In the United States there is a growing trend of community involvement in forest management. It has become necessary as communities are facing the shift of local economies away from natural resource extraction and forestry agencies endeavor to facilitate this transition. This is also coming about with a ground swell of interest from concerned citizens to assure that their interests are adequately addressed in regional forest management planning. These community groups are made up of individuals ranging from local citizens, to timber industry owners and workers, recreationalists and environmentalists.