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Traditional male dominance in the realm of forestry limits the degree to which forest departments around the world are able to take up gender equity agendas. The experience of one project in the hills of Nepal demonstrates a successful strategy for changing the attitudes of forestry professionals, at the same time creating conditions under which rural women can demand respect and inclusion by building synergies at various levels. This requires a focus on developing the skills of change agents within communities and agencies.
New directions in conservation and development have fostered participation by local people. In Peru, people in Andean communities are now considered to have valid objectives, desires, and interests. Peru is finding new ways of building a nation of different people learning from each other. The present article presents experience in incorporating a gender perspective in Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs), as gained by The Mountain Institute's Andean Program in the Huascarán Biosphere Reserve.
In 2001, a number of nongovernmental organizations formed the Conservation and Gender Group–Peru in order to strengthen efforts to incorporate a sound gender perspective in their activities. On the basis of results from the National Balance Document on the current situation related to gender perspective, this article shows how an intuitive approach to gender helped facilitate an ICDP and its positive impacts. Various tools, methodologies, and approaches were applied, depending on the specificities of local communities. The aim was to integrate all family members in ICDPs. But this intuitive, unsystematic approach limited positive impacts, aggravated conflicts, and reinforced gender inequality.
The Andean region of Peru covers over one third of the country's territory and contains about 30% of its total population. Development is constrained by both natural and nonnatural barriers, especially in rural areas. Geographic isolation, difficult mountainous terrain, high costs associated with improving transport infrastructure, deficient services, and intermediate means of transport limit the mobility of the rural poor as well as their access to basic services and utilities. Illiteracy rates are high in rural areas; the rate for women (28.2%) is 3 times that of men (9.1%). Responsible de facto for family life activities (education, health, food, recreation, child-care, family relations, etc) and increasingly sharing productive and management roles with men, rural women carry a significant workload. The impact of improved rural roads on gender relations in the Peruvian Andes is highlighted in the present paper, with a focus on the example of the Rural Roads Program. Recommendations are made for more gender-sensitive policy programs in the transport sector.
Why would a telecommunication provider consider investing in telecommunications infrastructure services in remote mountainous areas? Population is sparse; installation costs are especially high given the poor road conditions, the distance from the main grid, and the frequent lack of reliable electricity; economies tend to operate at a subsistence level; villagers are often illiterate and unskilled in the use of even the most basic telecom services; and many mountain people are from minority groups, isolated as much by geography as by their language and culture.
Often, too, isolated mountain communities have a disproportionately high population of women, children, and the elderly, on account of the common and ever-increasing out-migration by men of the household for seasonal employment. The women left behind are generally already overburdened with the responsibilities of family and home as well as subsistence farming and microeconomic activities. Why also should governments or donor agencies choose to invest limited resources in information and communication technologies (ICTs) when basic human needs—food, health, clean water, and education—urgently require improvement? How have ICTs ever benefited the poor? This article gives examples of successful ventures in mountain regions.
Mountains are the mainstay of local economies, providing valuable resources for livelihoods. But they are not immune to change because mountain people go out into the outside world, and the world comes into their lives. In this context, mountain women face many challenges, for example, those brought about by out-migration of men and young people from their communities, by external commercial interests that exploit mountain resources, and by changes in their roles and responsibilities.
In this International Year of Mountains, a major forum, “Celebrating Mountain Women,” aims to support women and highlight their needs and achievements so that these are reflected and integrated in public policy and in decision-making agendas. Several factors are required to ensure that women are an integral part of sustainable mountain development: more mountain-specific and local research; assistance with entrepreneurship, information, and raising awareness of their rights; and networking among mountain women and various development partners.
“Development without women is like a bird trying to take off with only one wing,” according to Abeba Habtorm, director of the Ministry of Education in Asmara, Eritrea. Are mountain women adequately integrated in development cooperation efforts internationally, by region, nationally, and in local communities? Has the vital role of women in sustainable development of mountain communities been sufficiently documented, understood, and especially taken into account in development projects? Mountain women's concerns have been the subject of debate during the last 3 decades, and some efforts have been made to develop more gender-sensitive policies and programs as well as more opportunities for mountain women, especially at the local level. Yet, there is still a great lack of disaggregated data on women's roles and responsibilities, on their access to and control over natural resources, services, and infrastructure, and on their knowledge of and participation in the elaboration of strategies to improve the situation they face as a result of male out-migration, globalization, and hence marginalization. The “bird” can take off only if women and men have equal opportunities to design policies and take part in decision making on more sustainable forms of mountain development at all levels.
Experiences with a participatory seed improvement initiative as a strategy for combating food deficits in a remote community in eastern Nepal are outlined. On the basis of participatory methods of problem assessment, food deficits were attributed to several factors, such as limited arable land, poor soils, and lack of access to improved seeds and other agricultural services arising partly from the lowland and gender biases of national planners. Additionally, an increase in the number of households headed by women and the greater agricultural burden placed on women as a result of male out-migration have contributed to the problem of food deficits.
During times of scarcity, women's preferences for nutritional value and easy postharvest preparation are subsumed by the more immediate need for higher yields. Most of the crop varieties preferred by women are land races; hence, it is proposed that these crop varieties become the focus of future crop improvement initiatives to sustain crop diversity while addressing the needs of women.
A strategy to develop capacity among women and men engaged in farming through a local community development organization was devised in consultation with the community, on the basis of criteria for participation by innovators and in recognition of gender-differentiated knowledge and the respective roles of women and men. The outcomes of the initiative were the development of a seed bank and plans for more advanced technical training to enhance local breeding practices, with an awareness of the gendered aspects of crop selection.
Vietnamese agricultural policy has changed radically during the past 5 decades. Decollectivization in the 1980s and 1990s followed 2 decades of collective agriculture. This article examines the effects of agricultural policy on land use. It reports the results of remote image interpretation and socioeconomic field study in a Black Thai commune in Vietnam's northern mountains. It suggests that the landscape in the commune has been highly dynamic and that this dynamism was partly the result of the agricultural policy. Collectivization and decollectivization affected land use, but their influence was mediated by other factors, primarily changing technology and markets. In addition, the relationship between national policy and local land use is complicated by 2 factors: (1) changes in local institutions may predate national reforms, and (2) implementation of national policy and the resulting local institutions may differ from place to place.
On the basis of interviews in 2 Huli-speaking villages in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, genealogical charts for 1678 persons, alive or dead, representing 5 generations, were reconstructed to investigate the change in intrapopulation migration patterns in response to modernization and environmental degradation in their habitats. Migration flows from less modernized and thinly populated areas to more modernized and densely populated areas predominated among the older generations, whereas flows in the opposite direction prevailed among the younger generations. This observation is attributable to the disparities in modernization that have increased since the establishment of an administrative center and to the resulting shortage of garden areas around the overpopulated center, respectively. A gold rush in the end of the 1980s may also have been a cause for the migration flow toward the northern, less modernized area.
This study evaluated changes in land cover in the Chemoga watershed, headwater to the Blue Nile. Two sets of aerial photographs (1957 and 1982) and a multispectral Spot image (1998) were used as inputs to produce 3 GIS-based land cover maps of the area. The results show that during the last 41 years, forest cover increased at a rate of about 11 ha per annum in the 36,400-ha watershed. Woodlands and shrublands decreased between 1957 and 1982 but increased between 1982 and 1998, approximately to their previous levels. Farmland and settled areas gained from the other cover types (13% increase) in the first period but lost around 586 ha (2% decrease) in the second. Grassland and degraded land decreased, accounting for 4.8% of the total area of the watershed in 1982 and 3.5% in 1998, as against 9.6% in 1957. Riverine trees suffered the greatest destruction, shrinking by 79% over the 4 decades; much of this decline was due to cultivation. Marshlands increased in the first period and decreased in the second. A new pond emerged amid the marshlands between 1982 and 1998. Population growth and the associated demand for land and trees was the major driving force behind the changes. This study shows that the deforestation trend was reduced and even partly reversed in the area because local people planted trees as a source of fuel and income. This trend ought to be encouraged through appropriate interventions—in particular by promoting planting of local species rather than eucalyptus—to increase not only economic but also ecological benefits. Indeed, the current state of land cover and its dynamics have environmental implications at the local scale and beyond. Hence, environmental management for sustainable development requires interregional and international cooperation.
The present article addresses the deterioration of 12 forest geosystems located in a mountain range to the west of Mexico City. On the basis of identification of plant species that are indicators of environmental deterioration, as well as application of a Deterioration Index that considers these species in relation to the richness, vertical structure, and total cover of the climax forest facies—representing the most developed and stable evolutionary stage of each geosystem—forest geosystems are classified according to the present stage of deterioration that affects the best preserved forests in each case.
We challenge the paradigm of natural tree line formation in the equatorial Andes with an alternate view that incorporates the human dimension. We present both direct and indirect evidence of anthropogenic influences on cloud forest tree line location; these human influences should be incorporated in definitions of Andean tree lines as (1) the extensification of grassland for grazing and potato cultivation for the upper limit, and (2) the intensification of the agricultural frontier, fuelwood gathering, and timber extraction for the lower limit. Although we do not claim to fully debunk the prevalent paradigm of tree line dynamics (which is descriptive, depends on the natural sciences, and sees tree lines as physically controlled), we hope to achieve increased recognition for a challenging alternate view of tropical tree lines as functional, resource-use dependent, and human-driven. Management plans and overall tropical montane cloud forest conservation strategies need to consider this new perspective and incorporate a proactive and assertive approach toward restoration of Andean forests in a way that will encourage landscape diversity in tropical mountain ecoregions.
Headwater unincised savanna (sabana) landscapes in the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic, have a vegetation cover dominated by the native tussock grass,Danthonia domingensis. Sites occur on gentle-relief upland surfaces approximately between 2000 and 2400 m, mainly in José del Carmen Ramírez National Park (JCR) and Juan B. Pérez Rancier National Park (JBPR). Surface and subsurface data from 1 site constrain regolith age overlying granitoid saprolite to <12,57014C years BP. We conclude that the savannas studied are dambos that developed in response to environmental change during and after the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Dambos elsewhere are widely regarded as reliable indicators of major Quaternary environmental change. Dambos have unique hydrological, ecological, scenic, and utilitarian attributes; their importance will increase with greater tourism, as will the concerns for their sustainable use. This first publication on dambos in the Caribbean signals the need for more research into their origin, evolution, and state of equilibrium.