Published by the Sustainable Agriculture Programme of the
International Institute for Environment and Development
Trees as Savings and
Security for the
GATEKEEPER SERIES No. 3
The Gatekeeper Series of the Sustainable Agriculture Programme is produced by the International
Institute for Environment and Development to highlight key topics in the field of sustainable
agriculture. The Series is aimed at policy makers, researchers, planners and extension workers
in government and non-government organizations worldwide. Each paper reviews a selected issue
of contemporary importance and draws preliminary conclusions of relevance to development
activities. References are provided to important sources and background material. The Swedish
International Development Authority and the Ford Foundation fund the series.
Robert Chambers and Melissa Leach are Fellows of the Institute of Development Studies at the
University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Czech Conroy is consultant socio-economist who has worked
for various UK-based development organizations, both governmental and non-governmental.
This is a revised and expanded version of Gatekeeper SA3 that first appeared as Trees as Savings
and Security for the Rural Poor by Robert Chambers.
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3 1
2 GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
TREES AS SAVINGS AND SECURITY FOR
THE RURAL POOR
The potential and importance of trees as savings and security for many of the rural poor of the South
has long been overlooked and neglected by outsider professionals. This professional neglect can
be understood in terms of three tendencies.
Whatever is important to the poor tends to be neglected because of foresters' concerns with
industrial and conservation forestry, agronomists' concerns with field crops, and the absence of
a profession with energy and fuel as its central concern. The recent emergence of agroforestry
as a profession is a first step towards countering these biases. Temperate climate biases have also
tended to blur recognition of the rapid rates of tree growth, and so of appreciation in the value of
trees, in many tropical conditions.
Lags in Learning
All professions tend to lag in their knowledge of rural realities in the South. This has been true
of the long-term increase in the value of trees and tree products. This trend has been due to
deforestation and declining common property resources reducing supplies of tree products; while
rising populations, urbanisation, and higher incomes have been increasing demand.
Deprivation is usually described as poverty, and equated with low incomes. Poor people are also
thought to be incapable of saving. In fact, poor people are as much concerned about vulnerability,
indebtedness and assets as income. Costs of meeting contingencies, like sickness and accidents,
have risen in many parts of the Third World. At the same time, as patron-client relations and the
supports of the extended family have weakened many poor people have become more vulnerable
to contingencies than before. They now want and need alternative forms of support. More and
more evidence is coming forward that poor people who are not absolutely desperate will make
great sacrifices to hang on to assets, whether land or trees, and will save for future needs and for
Contingencies may take numerous forms. They may be sudden and unexpected; they may be slow
in onset; or they may be large needs that can be foreseen. They can be classified according to the
following five categories:
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1. Social conventions including dowry, bridewealth, weddings and funerals;
2. Physical incapacity including disablement: sickness: accidents; old age; and the child-bearing
sequence of pregnancy, childbirth the post-natal period:
3. Natural disasters such as droughts, floods, death of animals, epidemics of plant or animal
4. 'Human-induced' disasters such as theft of assets, civil disturbance, war and excessive demands
and illegitimate acts by the powerful (such as exorbitant interest rates charged by moneylend-
ers. intimidation and blackmail);
5. Unproductive expenditure such as failures in small enterprises, litigation or gambling; and fees
for schooling or apprenticeship that do not pay off.
For a poor household, any of these can lead to further impoverishment, in which assets have to
be mortgaged or sold, or damaging obligations accepted. This often has a ratchet effect, being
difficult or impossible to reverse.
The Use of Trees to Meet Contingencies
There are many examples of poor people using trees to provide security or insurance against
Direct use of trees and tree products to meet contingencies takes two forms. The first is where
trees provide resources to deal with seasonal shortages (Chambers and Longhurst, 1986). Trees
can be sources of recurrent flows of food, fodder and other useful material: they can help
households get through the slack or lean months. For human food, examples include mangoes at
the beginning of the rains; and the locust bean (Parkia spp) maturing in the dry season in West
African savanna. For fodder, one example is Acacia albida, which drops its pods in the dry season
when other fodder is scarce.
The second form of direct use is where a contingency entails a one-off need for trees or tree
products. Examples are: firewood for feasts and funeral pyres; poles and timber for hut and house-
building after fire, flood or house collapse; replacing a lost boat/canoe or broken plough; providing
food when there is severe hunger caused by drought or civil disturbance. In these cases, ownership
of, or access to, suitable trees can meet the need; while lack of ownership or access can mean
impoverishment, through the need to dispose of other assets or to take on debts.
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
As a Source of Cash
Trees are sold or mortgaged to cope with a variety of contingencies. Some examples are given
here, grouped by category of contingency.
1. Social conventions
These often require larger sums of cash than do other contingencies. In a study of palm trees in
Kilifi District in Kenya the greatest and most common contingent expenditure causing poorer men
to dispose of their land and palms was marriage and bridewealth (Parkin, 1972). Marriage was
also a frequently mentioned contingency in two villages of eastern Gujarat, where the sale of trees
was the most frequently cited means of raising cash (Conroy, 1991b).
2. Physical incapacity
Another reason for selling trees that Parkin mentions is the costs of having a traditional doctor
during a long illness of a family member (Parkin, 1972). In eastern Gujarat, 12 households in which
a member had experienced a physical incapacity requiring medical treatment, four had sold trees
to pay for it (Conroy, 1991b).
3. Natural disasters
The best documented form of natural disaster is drought. The resultant fall in food production and/
or income from crop sales makes it necessary to obtain food or cash from other sources. In East
Africa, members of a Swahili community sold a few coconut trees during very dry years partly
because of their "sheer lack of cash" they needed to do so "to make ends meet" (Caplan, 1975).
During a drought in Maatisar village, Gujarat, India, in 1987, between 150 and 250 trees were sold
by the villagers, to raise capital to purchase seeds and other inputs or to meet contingencies (Chen,
1991). During a localised drought in Jhalod Taluka, eastern Gujarat, in 1989, almost half of the
households that experienced a food shortage in two villages (where tree-growing is almost
universal) sold trees to buy food (Conroy, 1991b).
In the humid tropics, rainfall irregularities can have as disastrous an effort on food production as
drought has elsewhere. In Sierra Leone, for example, rice production is sometimes damaged by
early rain. Farmers often respond by mortgaging or pledging cocoa or coffee trees, or selling
timber trees, to obtain cash to buy food (Leach, 1990).
There are hardly any reported cases of the sale of trees to cope with man-made disasters or
unproductive expenditure. This may be partly due to a reluctance to talk about such contingencies,
especially matters like gambling, alcoholism and exploitation. One case of trees being used in
connection with unproductive expenditure involves the Mende farmers in southern Sierra Leone.
They often mortgage coffee and coffee trees to raise cash to pay court fees and fines, or to buy
food because litigation has depleted their other cash resources (Leach, 1990).
The Use of Trees as Savings
Trees are often planted or retained as part of deliberate long-term strategies for savings and
security. Sometimes this is done to meet specific foreseen needs. For example, Casuarina in
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
South India for daughters' dowries; eucalyptus, cypress and pine in Western Kenya to pay for
school fees; eucalyptus in Ethiopia as savings towards a child's education; and a cooperative
plantation in Benin to provide support in old age. Young men in parts of the West African forest
zone plant oil palms, cocoa and coffee as an investment for marriage, both to pay bridewealth and
to support their wives and children (Leach, 1990). In many countries the sale of firewood and the
preparation and sale of charcoal are means for poor people to get by during bad times.
In some areas trees may be substituting for cattle as cashable savings. This is most likely to occur
in areas of dense population, small landholdings and limited common grazing lands, since the
latter two factors reduce the amount of fodder available for cattle. There is circumstantial evidence
for this hypothesis from Kakamega, Kenya, where the per hectare density of planted trees is
greatest where the human population density is high and the size of the holding is relatively small
(Bradley et al, 1985).
The value of trees in strategies for savings and security is enhanced by their use to obtain credit.
Tree pledging or leasing is practised in Nepal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana (Fortmann, 1989).
In Kenya, the pledging of palms is a sure and fast way to raise cash to meet contingencies (Parkin,
1972). In Sierra Leone, farmers often mortgage cocoa and coffee trees to obtain a loan, and the
creditor harvests the produce until the loan has been repaid (Leach, 1990).
In India, there are examples of trees being used as security (collateral) for loans: a consumption
loan made by an enterprising bank manager (Aloysius Fernandez, pers. comm.); and an informal
loan to a widow from a fellow villager (Conroy, 1991b). In the latter example, the widow was
unable to repay the loan, and the creditor duly collected trees from her of equivalent value to the
loan plus some interest. Where people have rights to trees this may generally enhance their
creditworthiness, even if the trees are not explicitly designated as collateral for a loan (Conroy,
Trees may also be used to redeem debts and mortgages. In eastern Gujarat, out of 28 farmers who
had sold trees, five had used some of the income to pay off debts and three to release mortgaged
jewellery or land (Conroy, 1991b).
Trees are sometimes cash crops for small and poor farmers. For example, smallholder cocoa,
coffee and oil palm production for cash have been well-established in the West African forest zone
since the middle of this century, involving poor as well as wealthier farmers (Berry, 1988).
In two districts in Kenya, Kakamega and Kisii, where landholdings are very small, and where aerial
surveys have shown up to 30% of the agricultural land under planted and managed tree cover, small
farmers who cannot afford to plant coffee or tea plant trees instead. In the words of Peter Dewees
(pers. comm.) "Trees seem very much to he the cash crop of the rural poor in some areas ofKenya".
In other circumstances, however, trees may not be suitable cash crops for small and poor farmers
- see below.
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
Uses of Income
The importance of income from trees in reducing poor people's vulnerability and improving their
standard of living is supported by a recent analysis of social forestry projects in India (Shah, 1988).
Shah looked at the uses of income by 59 poor and almost landless tribal families, who were among
the first to benefit from the sale of their trees grown under the West Bengal Group Farm Forestry
Programme. Of the sums received by sellers, 38% were spent on the purchase of land, 21% on
other productive expenditure, and 14% on housing, making a total of 73% on capital investment;
while 22% went on marriages and 4% on other contingencies. Almost all the cash from tree sales
was thus used by these poor people to better their economic or social condition in some long-term
In a study of an NGO-managed social forestry programme in eastern Gujarat, 28 small farmers
were asked how they had used their income from tree sales. The four most frequently mentioned
uses were buying bullocks (20), buying clothes (11), cash gifts/bridewealth for marriages (10) and
children's education (8) (Conroy, 1991b). Several farmers had also used their income to reduce
their liabilities and/or improve their asset base by paying off debts, releasing mortgaged assets,
and acquiring new ones (in the form of livestock, jewellery and wells).
These studies contradict the views of cynics, who expect poor people to dissipate the cash from
the sale of trees and tree products.
Advantages of Trees
The comparative advantages and disadvantages of trees and other assets are summarised in Table
1. Whether or not trees are an effective form of savings and security for the rural poor will vary
according to economic, social and agronomic circumstances.
Trees can have several advantages for poor people. They are cheap to establish, usually appreciate
rapidly in value, are in manageable and divisible units, and often (but not always) regenerate after
cutting. In these respects they compare favourably with other assets: large livestock are costly
to acquire, and come in lumpy units that may be too big to fit a need well; small stock may be harder
to hang onto, being more easily bagged by relatives, or demanded by social custom, than trees.
The rate of appreciation of trees can be much faster than jewellery, land, or bank deposits, provided
the prices for trees are not falling. Furthermore, other assets do not coppicee' when cashed.
These advantages have applied in eastern Gujarat, during the last few years. Tribal farmers there
have been receiving support in establishing their trees from government agencies and a local NGO,
the Sadguru Water and Development Foundation. The main species initially was Eucalyptus, a
particularly fast-growing tree, and the price of Eucalyptus poles in the area has been increasing.
One farmer there was probably speaking for many when he explained his preference for
Eucalyptus over jewellery and other assets as follows:
"I prefer Eucalyptus because it grows very fast and you can take the crop a second and third
time. I prefer not to mortgage jewellery because I have to pay interest on it, whereas I don't
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
Table 1. Tendencies with some assets of the poor: costs, risks and benefits
Jewelry Large stock
Low unit starting costs
Low maintenance costs -
herding, protection etc. +
Low vulnerability to disease,
accident, damage, drought ++
Low vulnerability to theft 0
Property rights and
cashability secure ++
Rises fast in value
(appreciates, breeds etc) 0
Stores well ++
Easy to pledge, mortgage or
use as security for loan ++
Provides flow of income,
Easy to transport ++
Divisible/small units for sale +/-
Good price for small amount 0
Steady price +
Avoids obvious distress sale +
Regenerates after disposal -
=/- 0 +
+ ++ +/-
+ ++ +/-
+ ++ =/0*
+ ++ ++
+ 0 +
0 : more or less neutral
: usually negative (bad)
= :strongly negative (bad)
+ : usually positive (good)
++: strongly positive (good)
+/- :sometimes positive, sometimes negative
This is highly variable, but complete freedom to cut and sell appears to be exceptional where government
regulation or programs are involved.
** In good conditions. There are major differences between high rates of growth in much of the humid and
semi-humid tropics, and slower rates in temperate climates and in the semi-arid and arid tropics.
if I sell Eucalyptus" (in Conroy, 1991b).
The sale of trees (or any other asset) is preferable to the mortgaging of assets (or obtaining a loan)
in that it does not involve interest payments. On the other hand, the sale of assets has the
disadvantage, vis a vis mortgaging, that it will be more difficult to reverse the action, and recover
the asset, in the future. Where trees can be coppiced their sale has the advantage of no interest
payments while avoiding the disadvantage of losing the asset: they will be recovered when the tree
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
Trees can be mortgaged as well as sold. When they produce recurrent products (eg fruit) these
are often used as interest on the loan, in the same way that crops are used as interest when land
is mortgaged. This gives them an advantage over jewellery, which does not generate its own
During their first few years, trees are a form of forced saving, having little or no direct sale value.
Then, as they mature, their rapid rise in value may provide a heightened incentive to poor families
to stint and save in order to gain more later. This very solidity and fixity of trees may be an
advantage by making saving rather easier, and cashing rather more difficult, than with most other
assets. However, the fact that tree-growing can 'lock-up' savings during the first few years can
also be a disadvantage if the owner urgently needs cash during that time.
After the first few years, some trees have the advantage of being harvestable and saleable for timber
or firewood at any time, and so provide a 'bank balance' that is easy to cash when needed, giving
the grower greater flexibility than most other cash crops. This, combined with their relative
robustness to climatic extremes, makes them a valuable source of income at times of drought or
flooding when annual crops have failed.
Disadvantages of Trees
Where farmers are growing large numbers of trees for the first time (as was the case, for example,
in north-west India during the 1980s) risks may be at their highest, due to failure to obtain seedlings
in time, or unfamiliarity with silvicultural practices or with markets for tree products. This is
particularly so where trees are being grown primarily as a cash crop, and where there is a significant
opportunity cost, as when trees are grown on good agricultural land, instead of cereals or pulses.
Cash cropping may also involve increased dependence "on alien institutions middlemen, forest
rangers, and wood markets" (Saxena, 1990). Some potential disadvantages of trees are discussed
If trees are to be effective savings banks and forms of insurance the producer must have
unequivocal rights to them. Several social forestry projects in India have failed to define poor
peoples' rights to trees clearly, as have projects in pastoral areas in the Sahel. As a result, people
were not motivated to manage and protect them.
In many countries (including Ethiopia, India, Nepal and some countries in West Africa) rights to
trees on private land are curtailed or unclear, because of government restrictions on the cutting,
transport and/or sale of trees. Not surprisingly, such regulations induce precisely the behaviour
they are designed to prevent: unsure whether they can cut and sell their trees, farmers cut and sell
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
them while they can, and do not plant more. Obtaining permits often involves long waiting, much
hassle, and bribes. It increases the likelihood of middlemen exploiting farmers, particularly small
ones, by paying them only a fraction of the market price (Chambers et al, 1989; Saxena, 1991).
Market Risks: Ignorance and Exploitation
Ignorance about the workings of the market is sometimes another reason why prices are low, as
has been the case in Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (Shah, 1988; Saxena, 1991).
For example, in Bhavnagar District, Gujarat, farmers had no market information about polewood,
and a city trader could easily talk them into selling their produce at a low price (FAO, 1986).
Market Risks: Demand for the Product
Where farmers are growing trees as a cash crop for the first time, they are more likely to be poorly
informed about markets and prices for their product, and hence more prone to financial
disappointment. Despite the fact that demand for, and prices of, trees and tree products have
generally been rising, there is sometimes a risk of over-supply and falling prices. The growing
of trees as a cash crop is sometimes promoted by government agencies without proper considera-
tion of the market opportunities available (for a Kenyan example, see Hosier, 1989).
For example, in some parts of India tree planting has been so intensive that the pole market could
not absorb the excess supply. Prices fell and production became unprofitable (Saxena, 1990;
1991). Farmers producing tree products for export may also experience declining or fluctuating
world prices (e.g. cocoa, coffee). These problems are not, of course, limited to tree crops.
Risk of loss of trees as assets is a less clear-cut disadvantage. In the early stages of growth, and
especially if they are planted on common land, browesable species require protection from grazing
animals if they are to survive. When trees are older and more valuable, theft may become a
problem, especially if they are planted some distance from where the owner lives, as was the case
with some 'patta' land in West Bengal (Shah, 1988). Finally, there is also the risk of a pest
outbreak, especially where there are block plantations of only one species, as happened with
Leucaena leucocephala in Asia during the 1980s (Hughes, 1988).
Long Gestation Period
The fact that trees take several years to mature can be a disadvantage, especially if they are being
grown as an alternative to seasonal crops, which provide a more immediate return. Farmers may
require an alternative source of income, or a loan, to tide them over the period when the trees are
not generating income: this can be a particular problem for poor farmers (Saxena, 1990, 1991).
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
Conclusions and Policy Implications
The importance of trees as savings, security and sources of cash for the poor is only now beginning
to be recognized. Trees are not a panacea for the rural poor, but the examples given show that they
are often valuable assets for them. Favourable situations are likely to be characterized by;
* secure rights;
* low opportunity cost (for example, where trees are grown on marginal land or field boundaries);
* the growing of trees for direct use as well as for sale (so that the farmer can switch between the
* multiple species (to meet various subsistence needs and guard against pest outbreaks and/or risks
- but with cash crops larger and more uniform lots may fetch a higher price);
* distribution of seedlings based on poor people's species preferences; and
* familiarity with the markets for tree products.
Some of the disadvantages of trees, particularly administrative restrictions and insecure rights,
stem from inappropriate official policies, legislation and attitudes. These should be reversed
where necessary. Small farmers should be given full rights to do what they will with their trees,
and freedom to market without hindrance so that exploitation by middlemen can be avoided.
The benefits of secure rights are illustrated by the following two examples. The Agroforestry
Project in Haiti found that once poor farmers were convinced that they could harvest and market
their trees free from controls, they planted vastly more trees than anticipated, and cut and sold
fewer than had been expected (Murray, 1986; Conway, 1987). In Gujarat, where administrative
restrictions on Eucalyptus, Subabul and Casuarina have been removed, small farmers in at least
one District have been able to bypass intermediaries and sell Eucalyptus directly to buyers at
reasonable prices (Conroy, 1991b).
Rights to trees are generally clearer on private land than on common land, and as a result farm
forestry has been more successful. But this should not be used by governments as an excuse for
abandoning attempts to plant on wastelands, particularly where there are many landless people
(Shepherd, 1988). It is imperative that government afforestation projects on common lands do
define rights clearly, preferably in legally binding documents, and publicise them well so that
people are aware of them (Chambers et al, 1989). 'Tree tenure' can sometimes give sufficient
security for tree planting and use even when rights to land are held in common (Fortmann and
Governments can improve the effectiveness of projects on common lands by actively involving
people in the selection of species and the management of the project (see Poffenberger 1990 for
examples). This will increase their motivation to protect the trees, reducing risk of loss, as has
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
been shown by numerous forest protection committees in West Bengal (Malhotra and Poffen-
Where farmers are unfamiliar with markets for tree products, governments or NGOs may be able
to help them market their products by providing information about market prices (FAO, 1986);
giving training in marketing; or helping producers to coordinate their marketing activities
(possibly through cooperatives), including the transport of trees or tree products to urban markets.
This has been done, for example, by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in northern Pakistan
for fruits (Conroy, 1991a).
In many rural areas in the South the potential seems large for trees to provide small farmers with
more of the savings, security and income which they need now more than ever. Changes in
government policies could help many millions more of them to struggle up out of indebtedness
and dependence, and to gain in self-respect, independence and freedom.
Berry, S. 1988. Property Rights and Rural Resource Management: The case of tree crops in West
Africa, Cahiers des Sciences Humaines (OSTROM), pp 3-16
Bradley, P., Chavangi, N. & Van Gelder, A. 1985. Development Research and Energy Planning
in Kenya, Ambio, 14 (4-5), 228-236
Caplan, A. 1975. Choice and Constraint in a Swahili Community; Property, Hierarchy, and
Cognatic Descent on the East African Coast. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Chambers, R. & Leach, M. 1987. Trees to Meet Contingencies: Savings and security for the rural
poor, IDS Discussion Paper 228
Chambers, R. & Longhurst, R. 1986. Trees, seasons and the poor, in Richard Longhurst (ed),
Seasonality and Poverty, IDS Bulletin, 17 (3), 44-50
Chambers, R., Saxena, N. & Shah, T. 1989. To the Hands of the Poor: Water and Trees. London:
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Chen, M. 1991. Coping with Seasonality and Drought. Delhi and London: Sage Publications
Conroy, C. 1991a. Rural Development in the Mountains of Northern Pakistan. Appropriate
Technology, 17 (4), 5-7
Conroy, C. 1991b. The Contribution of Farm Forestry to Rural Livelihoods: A case study from
Conway, F. 1987. The Agroforestry Outreach Project in Haiti. Case study for the IIED Conference
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on Sustainable Development. London: International Institute for Environment and Development
Fortmann, L. & Bruce, J. 1989. Agroforestry: Tenure and Incentives. Land Tenure Centre,
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Food and Agriculture Organisation. 1986. Case studies of Farm Forestry and Wasteland
Development in Gujarat, India. Rome: FAO
Hosier, R. 1989. The Economics of Smallholder Agroforestry: Two case studies. World
Development, 17 (11), 1827-1839
Hughes. C. 1988. Exotic and Native Trees for Social Forestry. Appropriate Technology, 15 (1),
Leach. M. 1990. Images of Propriety: The Reciprocal Constitution of Gender and Resource Use
in the Life of a Sierra Leonean Forest Village. PhD Thesis, University of London.
Malhotra, K. & Poffenberger, M. (eds) 1989. Forest Regeneration through Community Protec-
tion. West Bengal Forest Department.
Murray, G. 1986. Seeing the Forest While Planting the Trees: An anthropological approach to
agroforestry in rural Haiti, in Brinkerhoff, D. & J. Garcia Zamor (eds). Politics, Projects and
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Parkin, D. 1972. Palms, Wine and Witnesses: Public Spirit and Private Gain in an African Farming
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40. Opportunities for Expanding Water Harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of the Teras of Kassala. 1993.
Johan A. Van Dijk and Mohamed Hassan Ahmed.
41. Living in a Fragile Ecosystem: Indigenous Soil Management in the Hills of Nepal. 1993. Devika Tamang.
Copies of these papers are available from the Sustainable Agriculture Programme, IIED, London
(2.50 each inc. p and p).
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA3
The Sustainable Agriculture Programme
The Sustainable Agriculture Programme of IIED promotes
and supports the development of socially and environ-
mentally aware agriculture through research, training,
advocacy, networking and information dissemination.
The Programme emphasises close collaboration and con-
sultation with a wide range of institutions in the South.
Collaborative research projects are aimed at identifying
the constraints and potentials of the livelihood strategies
of the Third World poor who are affected by ecological,
economic and social change. These initiatives focus on
indigenous knowledge and resource management; par-
ticipatory planning and development; and agroecology
and resource conserving agriculture.
The refinement and application of Participatory Rural
Appraisal methods is an area of special emphasis. The
Programme is a leader in the training of individuals from
government and non-government organizations in the
application of these methods.
The Programme supports the exchange of field experi-
ences and research through a range of formal and informal
publications, including RRA Notes, aimed at practitioners
of Rapid and Participatory Rural Appraisal, and the Gate-
keeper Series, briefing papers aimed at policy makers. It
receives funding from the Swedish International Develop-
ment Authority, the Ford Foundation, and other diverse
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