The co-management of forest resources in Tunisia: A new approach for sustainable development in the sector of AMP
Tunisia has significant forest resources, that are subject to degradation, human pressure, and climate change factors. Meanwhile, the forest population has considerable local knowledge to valorize available forest resources, especially non-wood forest products. However, the local population is prevented from using forest resources without paying access rights. This new contract comes out to dismantle these difficulties and to facilitate access to the local population living within the forest areas. Policymakers implemented a contract of co-management to ensure a mutual benefit between the DGF and the forest population. The forest population should be organized in agricultural development groups ADG. This new contract empowers the forest population and provides sustainable forest management. Co-management contract can be defined as a commitment of two partners (DGF & ADGs) by signing this "legal document", to protect forest areas and to improve local population revenues at the same time
In Tunisia all forest areas are public: in order to use forest products, producers and firms should go through a tendering system subject to Article 18 of the Tunisian forestry code, organized each year by the Tunisian Forestry authority. Small firms and the local populations are facing many difficulties to use available resources legally. The DGF is promoting a new form of sustainable management for forest resources: Concluding contracts between the organized local community and the administration to improve their livelihood and to protect forestal areas.
To dismantle the bureaucratic State control of forest access, DGF has recently made co-management of NWFP the keystone of its development programs by involving organized local population (producers’ groups, cooperatives). The local population appreciates the new approach presented by the DGF especially in the case of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. Illicit harvesting of Aromatic and Medicinal plants in forestal areas has been reduced significantly. New job opportunities are created for young people and women in forest areas. More areas were managed by the local population in partnership with the administration and local communities can overcome difficulties caused by the actual legal framework in Tunisia
Attention should be paid to avoid overexploitation, as literature on natural resources and Non-wood forest products management by local population and communities mentions that these actors could also fail to manage resources effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to set up financing mechanisms and to develop public-private partnerships to ensure sustainable management of forest resources. However, launching a monitoring and evaluation system is necessary to improve the performance of this initiative (co-management of natural resources) and to set up management support tools for local producers and to establish technical references on sustainable co-management.
Impacts and weaknesses
Better revenue, more investment, jobs creation .... Nevertheless there is a risk of overexploitation of resources therefore, DGF should be vigilant to avoid this risk
The available knowledge about NWFPs remains insufficient to reach the international standards of production. There is an emergent need to reinforce ADGs’s capacities and upgrade their skills in terms of quality, packaging ...