Changes Needed in U.S. Assistance To Deter Deforestation in Developing Countries

ID-82-50: Published: Sep 16, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 1982.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Joseph E. Kelley
(202) 275-5790
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reviewed the problem of deforestation in developing countries and evaluated whether forestry, agricultural, and rural development projects have been promoting improved and self-sustained forestry and natural resource conservation.

The forests of most developing countries are not regenerating themselves quickly enough to sustain an adequate natural resource base for supporting the growing populations. The forestry projects approved by the Agency for International Development (AID) and other donors are experiencing delays, because host-government forest service organizations have been unable to obtain the necessary financial and political commitments from their governments. Economic, political, and social problems limit the ability of developing countries to ease the pressures exerted by their agrarian populations on the mountains, hillsides, and other marginal lands not suited to intense cultivation and grazing. GAO questioned the allocation of much of the AID forestry project assistance for building fledgling forest service organizations which neither have the necessary support of their governments nor the extension service capability to focus immediately on subsistence farmers, the principal cause of deforestation. Coordination and cooperation among international donors at the country level is infrequent and is not encouraged by host governments. Because of the complexities surrounding forest destruction and the financial resources needed to reverse this accelerating trend, the Secretaries of State and the Treasury should request that, in designing their projects, the international organizations give greater consideration to subsistence farmers residing in and around forested and watershed areas.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Treasury and State should request international organizations, in designing their projects, to give greater consideration to the impact on subsistence farmer populations residing in and around forested and watershed areas which are targeted for commercial timber harvesting, and road, dam, and irrigation construction projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Treasury and State should request international organizations, in designing their projects, to give greater consideration to the impact on subsistence farmer populations residing in and around forested and watershed areas which are targeted for commercial timber harvesting, and road, dam, and irrigation construction projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The AID Science and Technology Bureau is constantly encouraging forestation efforts within the capabilities of the target countries. Mission managers and an advisor worked with local ministry officials to initiate a doable project. The Honduras mission's reforestation efforts are now fewer in number and concentrated in implementation and completion of existing projects.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should support forestry-related projects that are within host-government political and financial capabilities and work with countries to engender more positive government commitment to deforestation problems.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should assess the implementation problems which have delayed some projects and, where problems are attributable to limitations on host-government capabilities, adjust the projects to be better suited to developing country capabilities.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Many recent AID forestry projects are focused on the integration of forestry, fuel wood, and living barrier projects into local development schemes. The forestry advisor is actively pursuing projects that blend with or are complimentary to other donor programs.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should: (1) implement strategies, such as those already endorsed by the agency's forestry policy paper, which encourage program officials to incorporate forestry assistance with agricultural and rural development programs whose principal focus is the subsistence farmers; and (2) seek the cooperation of other donors and the developing countries, where appropriate, to develop the needed links for using established developing-country agricultural service extension systems as a more direct and economic vehicle for improving the forestry and natural resource conservation practices of subsistence farmers.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and the Treasury should request that the U.S. representatives to the international organizations stress the importance of improving the productive quality of the land now under cultivation by using more forestry elements in the agriculture programs supported by these institutions.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and the Treasury should request that the U.S. representatives to the international organizations stress the importance of improving the productive quality of the land now under cultivation by using more forestry elements in the agriculture programs supported by these institutions.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 27, 2016

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 20, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Aug 31, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Aug 15, 2016

Jul 14, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here