7.2 Module B: Forestry/Watershed Management

A detailed case study of a forestry projects with gender mainstreaming practices and results can be found in Case Study C from Senegal.

7.2.1 Introduction

About 350 million of the World’s poorest people, including 60 million indigenous people use forests intensively for their subsistence and survival[17]
Wood is used for cooking and building;forests provide food, medicine, animal feed, and compost for agriculture. For women in forest-dependent communities, forests support family subsistence, goods for marketing, and paid employment. Particularly in Asia, women are often the primary users and caretakers of forests. Women and men have different traditional knowledge about how to use and manage forest plants and animals. Women also face different barriers to public or community forests than men (e.g., sexual harassment by forest guards) and manually transporting forest products due to a lack of bicycles and carts. Forests form an important component of family food security and livelihood. They also provide numerous environmental services, from which men and women often benefit in different ways.

Increasingly, forest management has become intertwined, in development assistance, with watershed management. Watershed management encompasses a wider variety of upstream and downstream water users, including both rural and urban residents. It takes place at multiple governance levels, including transboundary arrangements. Watershed management is cross-sectoral and includes forestry, agriculture, freshwater fisheries, and water management dimensions such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

While many climate-related forestry management activities fall under the rubric of climate mitigation—in particular, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus Forest Conservation (so-called REDD+) activities—there are particular activities related to forests and farm-based agroforestry that have adaptation objectives. From a farming household’s perspective, forest products add to household economic resilience and food security. Trees, in forests or agroforestry systems, are an important “bank”and are viewed as a means to cope with drought and crop failures. Furthermore, on-farm tree planting has long been used for wind protection and hillside and riverbank stabilization from flooding. Drought is affecting the availability of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), including those from freshwater sources (e.g., fish, frogs, and other aquatic species), particularly in dryland areas;increases in rainfall affect the conditions needed to dry and process these products. CCA approaches include promoting and adapting on-farm agroforestry systems, domestication of NTFPs, improving women’s tenure security for their use rights for common property and state forests, and increasing marketing profitability via value-added processes and group approaches to marketing certified and fair trade forest goods and products. For climate-smart watershed management, adaptation approaches focus on both household resilience, riverbank stabilization to reduce flooding risks, and adjusting watershed planning, at various levels of governance, to address climate change impacts.

7.2.2 Gender issues for forestry/watershed management

Gender division of labor.
Men and women, as well as girls, often have different responsibilities for collection, process, and sales of timber and NTFPs. Their collection activities take up considerable time, particularly for collecting fuelwood.

  • Men are more often involved in paid timber harvesting and timber value chains, have greater opportunities for paid employment in the forest sector, and grow poles for sale on their farms. Women and girls are more engaged in collection of NTFPs, with some involvement in value-added processing and marketing. Women prioritize fruit and fodder trees in their agroforestry systems.
  • Responsibilities for hunting wildlife, processing, and marketing wildlife products vary by sex and across different cultures. Men and women have different responsibilities for different species of wildlife.
  • Some plants and animals are harvested by both women and men;for other species, these duties may be specific to only men or only women.

Gender differences in indigenous technical knowledge.
Women and men have different cultural knowledge of how to find, harvest, manage, process, and use NTFPs and wildlife for food and medicine. Many cultures have practiced sustainable management of forest-based wild products for centuries. Women, in particular, have understood how to find wild terrestrial and aquatic food resources for use as a family safety net for their families, even during drought periods, through their ecosystem knowledge. In addition, men and women often have different perceptions of the environmental services provided by forests and put different values on particular services.

Women have more insecure rights to land and water and lower rates of property ownership.
Women’s access to common property and private family or clan lands, as well as to trees and NTFPs, is often mediated by spouses, fathers, or clan leaders. As a result:

  • Women’s rate of land ownership is very low in most countries, despite constitutional protections, and their rights are imperiled if they become widows. Women are at risk of displacement when land values increase.
  • Lack of land ownership, or at least secure tenure rights, means that women do not have the required collateral for credit from formal financial institutions or meet the requirements for membership in some producer and marketing groups.
  • Furthermore, tree tenure and collection rights for NTFPs are often separate from land rights. Women’s access rights tend to be less than men’s;they do not always have formal collection rights due to gender barriers around negotiating with government officials and may face sexual harassment from forest guards.

Women face more market-related barriers.
As with agriculture, women have greater mobility constraints for taking their products to wholesalers and retail customers.

  • Women’s groups may operate on a small scale but have weak market linkages.
  • Women have lower rates of membership in producer cooperatives or may be restricted from joining.
  • Women who make their livelihood from buying and selling or selling in municipal markets, often face greater levels of harassment, including sexual harassment, from officials in order to obtain marketing permits or space.
  • For the sale of processed NTFP food products, women may not have the resources to meet export standards of hygiene and sanitation during preparation.
  • With less access to credit, women may be unable to make the necessary investments to secure and maintain international certification for their products.
  • The value chains for wildlife meat and medicines for urban and export markets varies widely in terms of women’s opportunities.

Women are under-represented in forest/watershed institutions and governing bodies
. Women are still quite under-represented in
decentralized natural resource management for forests and watersheds. There has been more progress in achieving greater gender balance at the community level, but their percentage still declines at the multi-community sub-watershed level, national planning bodies, and transboundary watershed planning.

7.2.3 Gender and forestry/watershed management issues in the context of climate change

Climate change leads to forest ecosystem changes, including plant and animal species composition, wildlife habitat and populations, droughts and flooding of freshwater rivers, and salinity intrusion.
For NTFPs, traditional areas for collection may shift, desirable species may decline, and other species may increase. Even long-time collection practices may result in unsustainable use of desirable species. This situation will be exacerbated if prices increase for scarce NTFPs. As women have greater economic dependence upon NTFPs as one of their few sources of income, they may suffer more than men from the negative impacts of climate change on forest composition. Supplies of wild food and medicine can decline, resulting in more food insecurity, declines in family health, and increased demands on women’s time for family caretaking. When climate change results in increased forest pests that kill trees, women and men will benefit in the short-term from salvage harvesting but lose long-term access to fuelwood, timber, and NTFPs.

Climate change may increase labor demands for fuel and NTFP collection.
As the main collectors of fuelwood and NTFPs, women may have to travel farther to collect sufficient supplies for home use and market sales. Households may shift responsibilities for their children, especially girls, thereby reducing their school attendance and literacy levels. Similarly, lack of wild forage for animals may lead to promotion of zero-grazing schemes, which often translates into increased workloads for women and girls.[18]

Climate change can result in
seasonal and long-term shortages of wild food.

Rural households have long relied on wild plants for ensuring food supplies in the event of floods and droughts;poor households, particularly the landless, rely heavily on wild plants and animals.

  • If ecosystems change and natural supplies dwindle, households are likely to experience greater food insecurity. In many households, women and girls eat less protein than male household members. Climate change may exacerbate protein shortages in an unequal manner.
  • While long-time residents in an area often know how to manage wild plants and animals sustainably, climate change often catalyzes migration of “climate refugees”who do not understand local ecosystems and over-harvest wild food sources.

7.2.4 Gender entry points for CCA forestry/watershed management projects

Conducting gender-sensitive vulnerability assessments for the forestry/watershed management sector
. Gendered versions of forestry/watershed sector diagnostics are very similar to those described in Module A for the agricultural sector (e.g., rapid participatory appraisals focused on gender differences in land use, time allocations, practices, livelihood sources, land ownership/resources rights, activity and social mapping, indigenous knowledge, value chain analyses, priority setting exercises, and institutional analyses). However, because watersheds span administrative jurisdictions and borders, consultative meetings and exercises about vulnerabilities, priorities, and solutions are more complicated.

  • While attention is given to representative numbers of women and men, the very nature of ecosystem-based management relies on convening stakeholders across larger land areas, which may pose logistical problems for some women who are constrained by mobility norms and childcare responsibilities.
  • Forest departments are often perceived to be mostly male and authoritarian, and local women’s interactions with them have not been frequent or positive.
  • Secondary information can provide national statistics;data on the rights of men and women under existing forest, tree, and land tenure laws and policies;and studies on gendered resource use of forests.

Planning and design of gender-sensitive adaptation strategies.
Several types of forest/watershed activities for CCA projects are of particular priority because they result in increased household resilience and also advance gender equality:

  • Expand women’s participation in forest and watershed governance institutions, including building capacity on climate change for the representatives from women’s and gender ministries to enhance the quality of their participation and inputs.
  • Reform land and tree tenure policies to increase ownership and the secure rights of access and use by both women and men.
  • Expand women’s access to more profitable segments of the value chain for forest products.

When planning, various actions can be taken and methodologies employed:

  • Stakeholder consultations
    , prior to proposal writing, are intended to solicit and vet project design ideas and communication activities are designed to build ownership and refine project design.
  • For watersheds,
    gender-sensitive institutional analyses
    can focus on the executing ministry/agency at relevant levels, and for different country partners, if relevant. These analyses, with client consultations, help to identify gender capacities and weaknesses among staff and in programming.
  • Institutional mapping
    can identify possible partnerships and expertise available to support gender mainstreaming.
  • At a local level, a closer look is needed at the gender dimensions of formal and informal systems of tenure for land and other forest-related natural resources (e.g., trees, NTFPs, and water). These analyses can point to specific policy reforms and local land allocation strategies to improve women’s access, use, and ownership rights.
  • Social network mapping and conflict mapping
    for a specific area can pinpoint conflicts over forest and watershed natural resources and how, at a minimum, to protect women’s existing rights. Furthermore, when decisions involve infrastructure siting for physical structures to stabilize riverbanks or secure water access for watershed residents, these plans should take into account men’s and women’s land use and include consultation with both men and women.
  • Choices for the policy reform agenda
    may also look at gender-specific market barriers for those involved with NTFP and wood product sales. These options could also include support to increase the gender balance of producer and marketing groups, remove bureaucratic disincentives, increase market information to remote rural communities, and slow land use conversion.
  • Capacity-building activities
    for women’s producer/marketing groups could focus on four types of value chain upgrades: processes, products, functions taken on by the group, and upgrades to other products.[19]

Implementing gender-sensitive forestry/watershed management interventions for CCA

Improving women’s participation in forest and watershed governance institutions will take high-level commitment and support from men at all levels to achieve. (See
Box 11 on increasing women’s participation on watershed management committees in Pakistan.)
Targeted attention is needed to not just improve the number and percentage of women and improve the quality of women’s participation and inputs but to also sensitize decision-makers to the added value of gender-balanced participation and inclusiveness.

  • Projects must recognize and accommodate gender differences in availability and mobility issues, particularly for more distant meeting locations.
  • Tenure issues related to forest use and watershed natural resources can and should be addressed through local regulations and social norms, as well as more formal policy reform.
  • Similarly, value chain interventions aimed at women will include both capacity development as well as attention to gender-based market barriers. These interventions should also include women’s NTFP craft and home-based industries.

    Box 11. Disaster recovery and livelihoods via gender-balanced watershed management committees

    A gender-sensitive damage assessment and a rehabilitation planning process conducted by FAO, following the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, found that high rates of male migration had left women with the major responsibilities for reconstruction, farming, and family care. Overcoming conservative traditions in the area, the FAO project focused on increasing women’s roles in local watershed management committees as a means to reconstruct livelihoods and secure farming areas. The project built the gender mainstreaming capacity of local authorities and women’s livelihood and erosion prevention skills. These interventions resulted in increased women’s membership in watershed management committees, higher incomes for women, less farm erosion due to terracing and bioengineering, and more positive community attitudes about women’s suitability for community decision-making. After the 2010–2012 floods, the communities recovered much more quickly.

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2013a. Project to assist the earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation authority and its partners in restoring livelihoods in earthquake affected areas of Pakistan. FAO, Rome. http://www.fao.org/emergencies/fao-in-action/projects/detail/en/c/180313/

7.2.5 Monitoring gender impacts[20]

TABLE 7. Illustrative gender indicators for forestry/watershed management CCA projects
Intervention Area Illustrative Indicators
Consultation inclusiveness Number and percentage of men and women, by social group, consulted about project plans and frequency
Improving gender balance of staff, partners, or clients/client groups Percentage of men and women for target group
Active participation Number and percentage of men and women actively participating in consultations, workshops, committee meetings, and activities
Leadership Number and percentage of women serving in leadership positions in producer, marketing, and planning groups
Increased farm productivity from adoption of agroforestry practices Crop yield changes on men’s and women’s plotsYield changes or livelihood changes for households headed by women and those headed by couples or men
Technology adoption Uptake of new technology by sex and land holding size
Non-traditional practices or roles adopted Number and percentage of women engaged in forestry/watershed management practices/roles that are new for women in their areas
Women’s status changes by household or community Proxy measures related to inclusion of women’s priorities in household expenditure decisions or forest/watershed plans
Time availability Changes in amount of weekly collection time, by sexChanges in free time, per week, for women and menChanges in percentage of income earned from NTFPs earned, by sex
Forest access for collection activities Number of forest access agreements signed, by sexChanges in harvest levels of specific NTFPs
Service provided Percentage of men and women clients
Inclusive service provided Percentage of women from female-headed households, socially marginalized, landless groups served by extension
Client satisfaction Satisfaction level changes with extension or other servicesReported extension visits/meeting in past year, by sex
Adoption and level of implementation of gender strategies and plans Number and type of activities undertakenPercentage of plan completed
Policy changes Inclusion, protection, and/or improvement of women’s resource and tenure rights in new or reformed laws or regulation

Box 12 lists additional literature sources on gender and forestry/watershed management.

Box 12. Further reading about gender and forestry/watershed management