Difference between revisions of "Documentation:Open Case Studies/FRST522/Eco-Forestry in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea"
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===Papua New Guinea's Forest Industry: An Overview===
===Papua New Guinea's Forest Industry: An Overview===
PNG's economy is largely dependant on the country's abundance of natural resources including tropical timber (
PNG's economy is largely dependant on the country's abundance of natural resources including tropical timber (). In 2006, various forest types covered more than 80 percent of the country's land, offering lucrative business and development opportunities<ref name="Bun 2006">Bun, Y. A., & Baput, B. (2006). Community forestry benefits customary landowners: Case study on Madang Province Papua New Guinea. 1-38. Madang</ref>. The Government of Papua New Guinea (the Government), customary landowners and foreign-owned logging companies are major players in PNG's forest industry. Owning 97 percent of land in PNG, customary landowners reside in rural areas and face challenges related economic opportunities (World Bank). Undermined by the Government, customary landowners have little power in the development of forest resources<ref name="Bun nd">Bun, Y.A. (n.d.). Community based forestry experience in Madang, Papua New Guinea - Governance and Decentralisation. 1-21. Madang</ref>. Dominated by an alliance between the Government and foreign-owned logging companies, PNG's forest industry is characterized by large-scale timber extraction. The Government is responsible, orchestrating a process in which foreign logging companies earn massive profits at the expense of customary landowners who depend on forests, maintaining their traditional lifestyles.
Revision as of 15:11, 7 December 2017
In the late 1990's an NGO-led eco-forestry movement sought to empower customary landowners across Papua New Guinea (PNG). Timber was sustainably harvested using portable sawmills and NGO's provided financial and technical resources, developing small-scale community-based enterprises where timber could be processed and sold. Although eco-forestry was a model of development, benefitting customary landowners both socially and financially, the Government of PNG favoured and continues to favour large-scale and foreign-owned logging operations. This wiki page follows the eco-forestry program initiated by the Madang Forest Resource Owners Association and supported by NGO's the Foundation for People and Community Development, Greenpeace and Imported Tropical Timber Association in Madang Province, 1998-2006. Issues of land tenure and political dynamics threatening the long-term viability of eco-forestry in Madang are analyzed and discussed. Recommendations suited to empower customary landowners target interested and affected stakeholders: the MFROA, NGOs and the Government.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Tenure arrangements
- 3 Administrative arrangements
- 4 Stakeholders
- 5 Discussion: Power Defines Access to Forest Resources
- 6 Recommendations
- 7 References
Papua New Guinea's Forest Industry: An Overview
PNG's economy is largely dependant on the country's abundance of natural resources including tropical timber . In 2006, various forest types covered more than 80 percent of the country's land, offering lucrative business and development opportunities. The Government of Papua New Guinea (the Government), customary landowners and foreign-owned logging companies are major players in PNG's forest industry. Owning 97 percent of land in PNG, customary landowners reside in rural areas and face challenges related to limited economic opportunities in addition to a lack of health and education facilities (World Bank). Undermined by the Government, customary landowners have little power in the development of forest resources. Civil society groups are backed by funding provided by donor groups while the Government favours foreign-logging companies (Bun 2012.) . Dominated by an alliance between the Government and foreign-owned logging companies, PNG's forest industry is characterized by large-scale timber extraction. The Government is responsible, orchestrating a process in which foreign logging companies earn massive profits at the expense of customary landowners who depend on forests, maintaining their traditional lifestyles.
"people wanting to develop forest resources- task ahas been eft to civil society groups with funding from outside donors (BUN 2012).
Clashing world views have fuelled historical and on-going tension between the Government and customary landowners undermining co-operation in the forest industry. PNG's indigenous tribes have their own social ordering and citizens' primary allegiances belong to non-state social organizations (Sinclair, 1991, p. 10). There is public disrespect for the Government and it is conceived as an enemy figure (Larmour 1997). The Government, established hundreds of years after the existence of PNG's tribes, has struggled to assert its control over citizens (Sinclair, 1991). Government corruption and violence have become the norm and police systems have evolved to include raids and displays of militaristic power with incidents of death, abuse property destruction and theft (Sinclair, 1991). There is mutual distrust between local communities and the police (Sinclair, 1991). Corruption has impacted the forest industry as evidence indicates transfer pricing and mismanagement where customary landowners are cheated of profits (Sincalir, 1991).
Eco-Forestry in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, 1997-2007
Characteristics of eco-forestry are similar to objectives of community forestry. Eco-forestry suits the Global south definition of community forestry as a "reaction to Government-led control over forest resources (with focus on industrial and commercial interests" (Menzies, 2007; bulkan 2007). In Madang, communities attempt "to defend their forests and forest resources" (Menzies, 2007). An original definition of eco-forestry offered by the FAO also resembles the situation in Madang as local people are involved in forest activities generating income, processing forest products at the small industry level (FAO, 1978). In 2004, PNG's Eco-Forestry Forum (The Forum) defines eco-forestry as the sustainable of forest resources providing maximum benefit to traditional resource owners. The Forum details that eco-forestry achieves development without destruction. Forest resources are conserved and protected, allowing continued use by present and future generations (Bun, Scheyvens 2007).
Madang Province (Madang), located on PNG's northern coast, is characterized by mountainous terrain, fertile soil and variety of forest types . Madang is home to high cultural and linguistic diversity (Bun 2006). Communities live in remote, rural ares where livelihoods depend on the land and its resources . Madang's economy is largely dependent on the forest industry (Bun 2006). Similar to the rest of PNG, large-scale and foreign-owned logging operations dominate, harvesting and exporting round logs to international markets. Several large-scale logging concessions exist in Madang including one clear-cutting operation that has contributed to widespread social disharmony and environmental destruction . This case study will investigate eco-forestry as an alternative to predominant logging practices where portable saw milling operations produce and export timber to international markets. Although the literature suggests that several eco-forestry initiatives have been implemented in Madang province, this case study will focus on a portable saw milling operation implemented by NGO group the Foundation for People and Community Development (FPCD) beginning in 1998. The literature suggests that this program continued to operate until 2007 and a Greenpeace article suggests on-going suggest in 2013, however, it is unclear if the program continues to the present date, 2017.
Customary Land Tenure
In PNG, land is owned by clans and passed down from one generation to the next (Bun 2012). Maintaining title to land is important for customary landowners; they believe that the basis of nationality is derived from the land where individual communities are tied to specific landscapes (Larmour, 1997). Customary landowners believe that land cannot be commodified and in their view, permanent sale or transfer of land results in a loss of identity (Larmour, 1997). Colonial views impose that Customary land tenure is an "impediment to development"(BUN 2012) , challenging goals of economic development which often demands conversion to freehold tenure or long leases, supporting trade and investment on a global stage (Larmour, 1997). Freehold tenure allows the Government alienate land and ultimately leads to the displacement of customary landowners (Bulkan Oct 4 lecture). Customary landowners are reluctant to freehold tenure and have experienced land alienation in colonial times when land was taken away for plantations (power 2008). Contrasting Government views support the privatization of customary land and it has been noted that landowners feel pressured to give their forest rights to Government supporting large-scale logging activities (Bun, nd?). Outcomes of this process remove customary landowners' title to land, control over resources and participation in development, exacerbating social issues including poverty. It is common for customary landowners collect royalties from large-scale logging (Larmour, 1997), leasing or selling their land for under-appreciated values (Anderson 2006). They have little experience managing leases and mortgages and have little information on the opportunity costs of their land (Anderson 2006).
- converting land wouldn't suit social culture and tradition ... (Bun 2012).
local practice; apron for traditional needs, established and well understood by users . clans own and individual members have rights to use and occupy land based on verbal agreement. penalties for infringement conformity is at level of clan. role of land is to ensure survival for the benefit of group. (ARMITAGE, 2001).
Arrangements in law regarding forestry do not align with provisions of the PNG constitution. Increase political control and remove rights of citizens?
The Forestry Act, 1991
Government laws and regulations challenge landowners who seek develop their forest resources. On paper, the Forestry Act 1991 (Forestry Act) empowered customary landowners, encouraging the participation of Papua New Guineans in the forest industry. The Forestry Act created a a National Forestry Board (Board), with several government representatives and one Civil Society Representative. Within PNG's Forest Authority, the Board had the highest decision making power. The Forestry Act additionally created 19 Provincial Forest Management Committees (Provincial Committee), providing "coordination on forest management between national and provincial governments, forest resources and special interest groups" and developing provincial-scale forestry plans. Representatives of Provincial Committees were diverse including two landowners and one individual from an environmental NGO. Provisions of the Forestry act prioritized consultation and obtaining consent from customary landowners. In practice, the Forestry Act was not successfully implemented. Customary landowners were not involved in the forest industry. Most logging operations remained foreign-owned.
The Forestry Bill, 2005
The amendment Forestry Bill of 2005 (Forestry Bill) modified intentions of the Forestry Act, increasing political control while reducing customary landowner rights and promoting unsustainable logging practices. The Forestry Bill, passed by parliament despite public outrage, included clauses that were inserted without the knowledge of the Forestry Board. The Forestry Bill increased government representation in the Forestry Board and vaguely addresses consultation processes.
Eco-Forestry Activities Demand a Timber Permit
In theory, customary landowners do not lack title however, in practice, their rights are limited. In order to harvest timber on their land, members of the MFROA must apply for and obtain a government-issued permit (Bun, n.d.). Obtaining the necessary permit is difficult due to the remote location of most communities in Madang. Trips to government offices can take several days and it is unlikely that forestry officers are present in their offices (Bun nd). Often numerous trips to government offices are required, exhausting both time and money required to travel (Bun, n.d.). Once a permit is obtained challenges ensue as most customary landowners are illiterate and have little knowledge of forest laws. It is also common that political elites receive bribes, representing of logging companies or the Governments (Bun, n.d.).
This section identifies affected and interested stakeholders, describing their objectives, influence, power and participation relative to the eco-forestry initiatives in Madang. Affected stakeholders are customary landowners, represented by the Madang Forest Resource Owners Association (MFROA) while interested stakeholders are the Government, foreign-owned logging companies and NGO's.
The Madang Forest Resource Owners Association
The Madang Forest Resource Owners Association Seeking to develop forest resources, customary landowners, unified as a group, creating the MFROA in 1997 (Bun, n.d.). In order to become a member of the MFROA, an individual must be a forest resource owner in Madang who is committed to doing forestry work using their own respective resources (Bun, n.d.). Individually, customary landowners have little power however, the establishment of the MFROA increases power by numbers and gives voice. With local and regional influence, the MFROA's interests include earning income, sustainably managing forest resources in addition to maintaining culture and rights. The MFROA initiated Madang's eco-forestry initiatives and sought assistance from the FPCD in 1998 (Bun, n.d.)
The FPCD's mission is to "support Papua New Guineans to develop and manage their own forest resources towards environment, economic and social benefits" (B and S 2007). The FPCD increased the MFORA's power and influenced outcomes of the eco-forestry project, providing financial and technical support. Greenpeace and the Imported Tropical Timber Group assisted in exporting timber from the MFROA's eco-forestry enterprise to international markets (B and S 2007). As an international NGO, Greenpeace is highly influential, drawing widespread attention to eco-forestry in Madang.
The Government of Papua New Guinea and Foreign-owned Logging Companies
The Government, an interested stakeholder, seeks to achieve economic development, favouring large-scale timber harvesting (Bun, Schvens 2007). The Government has local, regional and national influence, asserting power, it undermines eco-forestry initiatives in law. The National Forest Policy, 1991 failed to provide for eco-forestry and strategies assisting small-scale saw milling enterprises were non-existent (Bun, Schvens 2007). A short-lived Eco-Forestry Program ended in 2006 and the National Eco-Forestry Policy, a component of the Eco-Forestry Program was not endorsed by parliament (Bun, Schvens 2007). The Government instead has initiated legislation, expanding its control over forests, accessing rights to timber from customary owners and encouraging developers to assume projects (Scheyvens, 2007). The sole priorities of foreign-owned logging companies include massive profits. Foreign-owned logging companies have no regard for environmental outcomes and social values and gain power from the Government and its laws, influencing at local, regional and national activities.
Discussion: Power Defines Access to Forest Resources
Objectives of the eco-forestry initiatives in Madang sought to empower customary landowners, developing forest resources and deterring foreign-owned, large-scale logging operations backed by Government support. Portable saw milling operations offered sustainable, practical timber harvesting and business opportunities, providing long-term income earning prospects and social development. Customary landowners were genuinely interested in the training programs offered by the FPCD. Local timber processing retained revenues in PNG and employment discouraged migration to urban areas.
The main challenges and constraints threatening the long-term viability of the MFRAO's eco-forestry program in Madang were identified as the following:
- Weak governance and poor policy implementation/regulation bun and schvenys 2007
- Lack of knowledge
- Priority to short term gains
- Financial constraints
- Little training and development opportunities for business
- Limited infrastructure (roads to transport timber) bun 2006
- Pressure to engage in illegal logging
All constraints and challenges could have been alleviated, mitigated or managed with the provision of government support. With clashing motives, the Government acquires rights, allocating forest resources to the "highest bidder" (bun n.d. p 12 ). Dynamics between the Government and customary landowners in Madang's eco-forestry initiatives, resemble similar situations in other countries including the Ekuri Forest Community in Nigeria and the rural community of Nambaradougou, Senegal. In all situations the Government undermines a local and forests-dependant community group, increasing its power by acquiring mechanisms of access to forest resources. Ribot and Peluso (2003) assess the ability to benefit from natural resources beyond property relations alone. They conclude that access to capital, technology, authority and information are powerful mechanisms that limit or increase a stakeholders ability to benefit from natural resources.
Customary Landowners and NGO's
Although customary landowners represented by MFROA hold rights-based access to forest resources in Madang, they require government support to enforce this claim, ensuring the long-term viability of eco-forestry and the benefits it brings to them. For example, landowners “might have rights to benefit from land but may be unable to so without access to labour” (Ribot and Peluso, 2003, p. 160). In 1998, the MFROA recognized their lack in mechanisms to access forest resources and therefore sought assistance from the FPCD. The FPCD empowered the MFROA, increasing the necessary capital, technology, and knowledge to run the project. The FPCD facilitated capacity-building seminars in topics including business and forest management, sawmill operations and maintenance (Bun, n.d.). Furthermore, the FPCD promoted self-reliance, administering courses in good governance to community leaders (Bun, n.d.). The FPCD additionally allowed community members to use their sawmills until enough money was saved to purchase their own (b and 2006). In 2007, Greenpeace and the Imported Tropical Timber Group increased the MFROA's access to markets markets in New Zealand and arranged the export of MFROA-prudced "eco-timber" (B and S 2007). In the context of Madang's eco-forestry initiatives, NGO's were instrumental, attempting to shift power away from the Government and foreign-logging companies, levelling the playing field for customary landowners.
The Government and Foreign-owned Logging Companies
In PNG, government-business alliances support resource extraction to the detriment of landowners. The Government illegally accesses and benefits from forest resources through coercion and deception. Together, the Government and foreign-logging companies are extremely powerful. Large-scale logging uses advanced technology and equipment. The foreign-ownership of the logging companies increases access to markets overseas. The Government's authority enables such processes, creating and enforcing laws that favour the large scale extractive industry. Ensuing increased wealth affords privileged access to production, markets and labour (Ribot and Peluso, 2003). Those without money cannot afford “the cost of communication with agents and officials of the state – they may not be able to bike 60 kilometres to a state representative’s office”, further confining access (Ribot and Peluso, 2003, p. 170). Similarities exist in Senegal’s rural communities that are unable to profit from commercial forest exploitation because Rural Council Presidents, intimidated and threatened by authorities, felt that they had no choice but to sign off on charcoal production (Ribot, 2009).
The Madang Forest Resources Association
Solidarity gives voice to landowners. As rural and customary landowners, members of the MFROA must continue to organize themselves, using support mechanisms such as the courts garnering attention to issues including insecure property rights (2009). The MFROA must empower themselves, developing community-level institutions, setting priorities and means to resolve or mediate inter-community conflicts (Menzies). Social-cohesion is necessary. Community-agreed defences against external pressures to participate in for example, illegal logging must be determined in addition to the capacity to represent group interests on a larger social and political scale (Bulkan 25 sept). Considering the vast interest large-scale logging in Madang, customary landowners must demand constellation in addition to free prior and informed consent as a legal rights enshrined in the Forestry Act 1991 and Forestry Bill, 2005. With regard to eco-forestry operations, MFROA members must be committed to on-going learning opportunities, meeting market demands and technological advancements.
NGOs are strong political allies of the MFROA. With legitimacy in policy circles their influence can affect change Ribot (2009). With national and international attention, NGOs including Greenpeace have the ability to increase customary landowners access to forest resources. Creating pressure on the Government, NGOs can shift power structures and in time, it is possible that continued, international attention may achieve Government recognition of customary landowners' property rights.
The Government of Papua New Guinea
Decentralization is imperative, giving more power to customary landowners, responding to their vulnerability to actors higher up in the government. Co-management approaches have the potential to bring people into a “participatory management process” (Ribot and Peluso, 2003), reducing conflict and tribes, the Government and logging companies. The transfer of powers must be enforced and respected by political actors.
The MFROA require support from publically-funded institutions, providing access to legal and administrative support (Weiner, 2013). This exists in other countries such as Australia where there is the Native Title Representative Body, assisting in the establishment of claims to title (Weiner, 2013). Expertise is necessary to advise on decision-making title (Weiner, 2013).
The Government must prioritize principles of sustainable and inclusive development, incorporating the indigenous world views of customary land owners. A space for new and cultural knowledge must be recognized, reconciliation historical tensions for a shared future. (Brett Dolter, Alternatives journal)
Government programs needed to continue providing training (year by year) to in case capacity
"access to capital and resources for local forestry dev. must be facilities in place to help establish local people wanting to develop a business from the forest resources. tech and advisory support systems must also be in place to help start saw milling businesses. (BUN 2012).
- The World Bank (n.d.). The World Bank in Papua New Guinea. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/png/overview
- Bun, Y. A., & Baput, B. (2006). Community forestry benefits customary landowners: Case study on Madang Province Papua New Guinea. 1-38. Madang
- Bun, Y.A. (n.d.). Community based forestry experience in Madang, Papua New Guinea - Governance and Decentralisation. 1-21. Madang
|This conservation resource was created by Chantal Kitamura. It is shared under a CC-BY 4.0 International License.|