Jungho Suh1 and Nick F. Emtage2
A survey was undertaken during a workshop to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of Community-based Forest Management in Leyte Province, the Philippines. A form with open-ended questions, rather than oral discussion sessions traditionally associated with the SWOT analysis, was presented to each member of the group simultaneously. The survey method with a questionnaire was aimed at minimizing the time requirement, preventing the data from being biased by a few dominant players, and obtaining relative frequencies. The greatest strength of the forestry program is seen to be the empowerment given to rural communities to plant and manage trees on publicly controlled lands. Other strengths include the resources and training provided to support the program and fostering cooperation between community members. Lack of foreign and local funding to support the program were viewed as the most important weakness. The possible withdrawal or depletion of foreign funding was seen as a major potential threat. Respondents are also concerned about whether communities can find markets for their timber and non-timber forest products. Other challenges include the lack of timber processing facilities in Leyte and instability and complexity of government regulations. With regard to opportunities, respondents tended to report what they would like to see done to improve performance od the program, rather than program innovations, probably because as yet little timber harvesting has taken place.
Keywords: participatory assessment, empowerment of rural communities, local government units, resource availability, timber marketing.
Annals of Tropical Research 27(1):55-66(2005)