BOOK RELEASE: “New Perspectives in Forestry Education”

Pofessor August Temu

“New Perspectives in Forestry Education”

Nairobi, August 15, 2008 - Experts are calling for more investment in training of foresters to increase their capacity to underpin sustainable agriculture and deal with climate change and other environmental problems facing African countries.

Recommendations contained in a new book launched last week at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, propose major changes to shift training from a focus on industrial forestry to one that helps communities solve challenges such as food security, maintaining biodiversity and sustaining important ecosystems.

The book arose from proceedings of the first Global Forestry Education Workshop held at the World Agroforestry Centre last year. The conference brought together more than 80 experts from 32 countries.

“Information gathered from across the continent shows a serious decline in forestry education,’’ says Prof August Temu of the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi.

The book was launched jointly by the Permanent Secretaries, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources in Kenya, Prof James Ole Kiyiapi, and Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Kombo Mwero. According to Mr. Mwero, sustainable forestry management forms a key plank of the Kenya Government’s Vision 2030, which aims to industrialize the nation in the next two decades (in picture).

“Forestry should be conceptualized in the context of innovation and value chain systems”, said Mr. Mwero. “It addresses a broad range of life perspectives and has the potential for additive social economic gains for professionals as well as local communities.”

The book calls for foresters to involve various stakeholders, including local communities, in managing forests.

Prof Ole Kiyiapi said the variety of issues covered in the book should transform “the persistent disconnect between academia, research, policy and practice into mutually re-enforcing framework for the generation and application of forestry knowledge”.

The official called for support to encourage young scientists to take up forestry research relevant to community, national, regional and international challenges. (picture: prof Kiyiapi hands a copy of the book to Prof Geoffrey Muluvi, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Kenyatta University).Speaking at the launch, World Agroforestry Centre Director General Dr. Dennis Garrity said forestry and land use are critical in mitigating climate change.

“Forestry needs to be used in poverty alleviation to create new holistic approaches that transform the discipline from the traditional ways to new and exciting measures,” said Dr Garrity.

Dr.Sirkku Hellsten, Counsellor for Governance, Embassy of Finland, described the book as an important resource for forestry education. Finland, which co-funded the workshop together with the governments of Kenya and Sida, has been supporting reforms in Kenya’s forestry sector.

“It is evident that dealing with questions of forests and trees is not an isolated issue,” said Dr. Hellsten. “It has to deal with issues of land ownership, historical and current grief, governance and corruption, particularly in relation to the governance of forest sector and in relation to illegal logging.” She added: “Teaching professional ethics and the interdependence of all matters of governance and nature is a good start for the next generation to protect the environment and work for sustainable development.”

The launch was also attended by deans of faculties of Kenyatta University and other senior scholars and researchers.

The book development was done by the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Educations (ANAFE), with support from World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF),  Kenya Forestry Service (KFS), Finland Embassy in Kenya, the  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Partnership for Forestry Education (IPFE), African Forest Research Network (AFORNET), The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

The event was hosted by Kenyatta University and presided by The Executive Secretary of ANAFE, Dr (Mrs) Aissetou Drame Yaye.

The book is available for US $ 35 including a policy brief and a CD (ROM) with power point presentations illustrating all papers in the book (postage of $ 20 excluded).

For more information, please contact:

Professor August Temu

Partnership Coordinator

World Agroforestry Centre

United Nations Avenue

P.O Box 30677-00100 Tel:+: +254 -20-722 4000

Fax +254-20-722 4001 Nairobi, Kenya