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Forest reform: advancing in China, lagging in India
A new opinion article in the Wall Street Journal highlights bold policy and institutional forest sector reforms in China and lagging implementation of JFM in India.
China has recently granted long-term user rights to households of collective forest lands in a pilot program in the Fujian and Jiangxi provinces. These forest tenure reforms are giving households authority in forest management, making trees collateral and ensuring the transferability of land. Individual workers and managers of forest enterprises have been granted user rights and management responsibility for some of China's largest and richest forests. The preliminary results from a survey of tenure reform in the provinces is showing positive results, including increased planting, improved management, and increased harvests.
The authors draw contrasting parallels between these bold advances in China and forest tenure reforms in India that are "timid and halting." India was at the leading edge of bold forest reform in 1988 when it introduced Joint Forest Management, involving communities in forest management in return for a greater share of forest products. JFM now covers 17.3 million hectares of forest land in 27 Indian states, but implementation has been slow.
Outcome indicators in the two countries differ sharply, note the authors. China's forest cover has increased while India's has not changed significantly; likewise China's productivity per unit of forest land has increased more rapidly than in India.
"With vastly increasing income choices available to rural households, China has developed a thriving domestic market for timber and other forest products. By enhancing, clarifying and securing land rights, the proposed tenure reform of forest lands is meant to encourage intensifying forest production."
Read the article here.
Posted By Megan Liddle at 9:54am on July 06, 2007
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