Building and Wood
Recommend this page
Stay up to date on news and events in the BWI. Join our email news service!
Forests continue to be degraded in Africa because of unsustainable practices that result to low wood recovery rates mainly because of poor technology and inadequacy in tools and equipments. While recognizing importance of skill training, United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Document on Non Legally Binding Instrument (NLBI) adopted in April 2007, support education, training and extension programmes involving local and indigenous communities, forest workers and forest owners, as part of developing resource management approaches that will reduce the pressure on forests, particularly on fragile ecosystems like Congo Forest Basin. In addition it recognized the need to strengthen the capacity of countries to address forest –related illegal practices according to domestic legislation, through enhanced public awareness, education, institutional capacity building, technological transfer and technical cooperation, law enforcement and information networks.
Noting that in a situation where a tree feller is not adequately trained, wood wastage is higher therefore contributing to increased forest degradation, while on a positive note in the case of skill development as reported in Tanzania, about 33% of forest workers trained got motivated and were able to establish their own mini forests or farm forests to supplement their incomes.
Given how little it costs to train an experienced forest worker in Reduced Impact logging (RIL) techniques, the continuing degradation of forests because of lack of training, use of obsolete tools and equipment in the sector is unfortunate. Irrespective of the plenty of benefits of training, such as safer working conditions, more retention of biodiversity and better protection of riparian areas, discussions on REDD+ initiatives are yet to capture importance of training and skilled workforce in the sector. In addition new skills that can benefit forest and wood workers in regard to wood ability to reduce carbon sources as well as increase carbon sinks are yet to be addressed, especially in discussion on REDD+ preparedness forums.
While recognizing importance of training on Reduced Impact logging (RIL), there is need to mainstream and integrate training on safety at workplace and awareness raising about hygiene, health and environmental safety, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), safety protection for chemicals, safety and fire control . Fire is increasingly seen as a major factor in forest degradation.
According to International Labour Organization (ILO), Circle of Prosperity, if workers are in good health and well equipped, if they are adequately trained, if work is properly organized and supervised and if there are adequate working conditions, workers will reach a high level of production, good wages and be able to afford good nutrition and housing, and enjoy a decent life. They will be able to improve their standard of living and work on a sustained basis over the day, the year and the whole working life and in addition young people will be attracted by employment in forestry.
While demanding for more training, special target groups should include women and youth who have huge potential in shifting the unsustainable practices that have dominated the forest and wood sector. There is no doubt that catalyzing transition to green economy through afforestation programmes requires attention in capacity building and training of forest and wood workers.