The potential of private landowners to contribute to national reforestation is recognised in the Forest Act, 1996 which mandates the Forestry Department to "promote the development of forests on private lands". The relevance of this mandate is supported by a land use assessment carried out by the Agency which showed that of the 69,000 hectares identified with reforestation potential, some 67,000 hectares are privately owned. This clearly underscores the need to involve private land-owners in reforestation.
In 1998 the Forestry Department formalized the private planting programme, which brought together its tree seedling distribution activities, particularly as they pertained to farmers and other landowners, into a structured programme.
Private Planting technical transfer training in progress
The growth of the PFP has been gaining momentum since its rejuvenation in 1998. Existing private planters and new recruits to the programme have displayed great interest and enthusiasm in maintaining existing plantations and establishing new ones. Up to the end of 2004, over 650 persons have been registered in the programme, with over 370,000 tree seedlings distributed, representing the equivalent of 570 hectares of plantation establishment.
The aim of the Private Forestry Programme is to encourage private landowners and other entities to plant trees on parcels of land not currently under productive use for commercial wood production and for soil conservation.
The range of individuals/entities who are eligible to participate in the Private Planting Programme include:
Free timber tree seedlings and technical advice are provided by the Forestry Department to participants in the Private Forestry Programme (PFP). The type of technical advice given includes topics such as:
The timber tree species available include:
To apply to the Private Planting Programme, simply download (click here) and complete the form and forward it to any of our offices. You may also collect forms from any of our offices across the island.
Once the application has been received and reviewed, a Forestry Department officer will make arrangements with the applicant to visit the proposed planting site. Decisions are then taken regarding:
Tree seedlings will be made available as scheduled and the Agency personnel will assist the landowner to monitor the growth of the planted seedlings. Measurement of the young trees, eg, for height, girth, etc. may be done intermittently for research purposes.
If there is a big demand for certain tree seedlings, the Agency may have to reschedule availability times. Participants will be advised at the earliest.
The Forest Act of 1996 allows private landowners to apply for their forested lands to be declared as either a forest reserve or a forest management area.
Make a written application to the CEO and Conservator of Forests stating your interest in declaring your area under the Forest Act. Be sure to provide us with:
Subject to affirmative resolution, declare the private land a Forest Reserve after:
The Local Forest Management Committee (LFMC) is the institutional body created in watersheds management units to enable the participation of the communities in the co-management of forested areas (specifically those managed by the Forestry Department.
The formation of Local Forest Management Committees (LFMCs) is provided for by the Forest Act, 1996 and is an integral component of the "Community Participation" strategy of the Agency.
The Forestry Department hosting a community meeting in a forest-depepndent community in order to raise awareness
Membership on the LFMCs is open to all community groups, organisations, NGOs, private sector entities and Government agencies present in the particular forest area and whose members are willing to participate. Each stakeholder entity will be asked to select a representative and an alternate to serve on the Committee. Membership in the LFMC will be ratified by the Minister with responsibility for Environment on the recommendation of the Conservator of Forests. There is no limit to the number of entities that can be represented on the Committee.
The purpose of LFMCs is to:
The Committee itself may identify functions which they need to undertake.
The operations of the LFMC will benefit overall watershed protection and management. The role of the Committee may be expanded in the future to take in watershed responsibility as a result of changes in the structure of national watershed administration and management.
To make local forest management more attractive to communities, the strategy has been to develop new initiatives and technical approaches of both the Forestry Department and NGOs which provides income earning opportunities for local communities. Some of the activities falling within this category are:
Where suitable sites on forest reserve lands have been identified in Local Forest Management Plans, individuals and groups will be approached to lease parcels for use in accordance with the conditions prescribed in the Forest Act and in any subsequent Forest Regulations. In certain situations, and where feasible, co-management arrangements or memoranda of understanding will replace standard lease agreements.
Any community interested in forming an LFMC needs to write to CEO& Conservator of Forests indicating your interests. From there the Agency will contact you and begin the process.
To date, 18 LFMCs have been established across the island. They are: