Partnership between public and private actors in forest sector development: Options for dryland Africa

Partnership between public and private actors in forest sector development: Options for dryland Africa, PAPFDA (2004-2005)

Period: 1 November 2004 – 31 October 2005
Project leader: Professor Olavi Luukkanen
Principal researchers: Eddie Glover, Pia Katila and Mohamed Elfad
Collaborating institutions: University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Ecology / VITRI; University of Khartoum, Sudan; Forest Administrations in other partner countries.
Financing: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (Commissioned Research).


In Finnish forest –sector development cooperation, much has been achieved in such specific areas as forestry education, farm forestry, community-based forest management and industrial tree plantation management. The role of forests in poverty reduction is also well acknowledged. Forest policy development has resulted in national forest programmes and, in few cases, the initiation of institutional reforms. Now there is a need to implement the development plans for the benefit of local communities. In such case countries in Africa as Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique there is a lack of operational forest management models that also could define distinct roles for the public and private sector. Inter-sectoral partnerships in forest resource management are well recognised as a promising approach. However, a serious constraint is the scarcity of reports on successful examples and recommendations for more general application.

Sudan was a leading recipient of Finnish forest-sector development aid in 1979-1991. After the discontinuation of this aid in 1991, implementation of its results has successfully continued to the present date, even if no comprehensive evaluation of this programme was ever undertaken. Scientific research cooperation between Finland and Sudan, started in the early 1980’s, has continued without interruption at the University of Helsinki, with a total of five doctoral thesis by Sudanese leading forestry experts already completed and another six doctoral studies on Sudan ongoing.

The Viikki Tropical Resources Institute (VITRI) with its Sudanese partners extracted the information related to public-private partnership in forest resource management, mainly from already existing data sources in Sudan. This information is particularly useful because of the different types of collaborative forest management (mostly including agroforestry) that the Sudanese forestry administration has for a long time already experimented with but which are not known outside the country and which were not covered by ongoing Finnish-Sudanese forest research work.

As a second part of the study, the above work in Sudan was linked with a detailed study on land tenure systems, property rights and forest-related land use in Kenya, Lao PDR, Mozambique, Nepal, Tanzania and Vietnam, so as to better clarify the potentials of public-private partnership in the management of forest resources. Results included recommendations also for the benefit of other countries involved in Finnish development cooperation.

Links to other related projects

Improved forest resource management for combating desertification in Sudano-Sahelian Africa (2001 – 2004)