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Disconnects between policy and legislative provisions and practice on native tree use, access and management in Segou region of Mali: providing the evidence for policy reform

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Policy and legislative reforms within the realm of natu ral resource governance especially on the access use and management of native tree species have varying impacts on the interests of different stakeholders. In Mali the public debate that st arted in the early 1990s led to the review enactment and implementation of pluralistic policies and legisl ation: Population Po licy of May 8 1991 the N ational Forestry Law Decentralization Policy Guiding Plan for Rural Development Sector (MAEE) National Strategy for Domestic Energy and the National Environmental Action Plan just to name but a few. The reform agenda was aimed at recognizing the rights of citizens to land resources devolving power to regional and local levels creating an enabling policy context and providing a framework for engaging citizens and forging new-strategic partnerships for natura l resource management. The Forestry Law; n 0 95-004 pursued a balance of social economic and ecological options through the pursuit of legal provisions on forest encroachment on-farm protection of native trees usag e rights of adjacent communities use of fire for managing forests and the management of agroforestry systems (parklands) in struments of enforcement and consequences associated with non-compliance. Th e Forestry Law however focuses on forests (article 1) excluding agroforestry systems from formal fore stry governance. Despite the exclusion of parklands from formal forestry governance their access use and management of trees are still regulated by the Forest Service contrary to the ‘spirit’ of the law. The continual application of stringent rules on the access use and management of on-farm trees is guided by the need to “avoid running the risk of anarchy in the management of resources” (ECO Sahel 2006 and Direction Nationale de la Conservation de la Nature). This provides a window of opportunity and a framework around which the reform of the Forestry Law can be organized.

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