USAID is supporting the development of a national conservation strategy for Nepal and has assisted in the process of planning and initiating conservation strategies in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. Again, this process needs to be accelerated, and we are working to do this.
Coupled with the integration of conservation and development is the need to develop or strengthen indigenous institutions within the developing countries that can assemble, analyze, and monitor data on plant and animal species, on land use, and on protected area systems. Both conservation and development agencies need the information and technical support that such institutions can provide on a continuing basis.
The Nature Conservancy’s International Program has been working with several Latin American countries to develop Conservation Data Centers to meet this need. We believe their efforts are a good prototype for such institutions, and we are pleased to be assisting in supporting this program.
Development assistance agencies can also assist conservation efforts directly through grant or loan support and through the regular and systematic incorporation of conservation components into development assistance projects. In Peru, for example, the Central Selva Resource Management Project was started in 1982 in the Palcazu valley of the high jungle. It is being funded by USAID and the Government of Peru at a total of $30 million over 6 years. Its purpose is to test and institutionalize a method to promote sustained productivity of the Palcazu watershed and build an institutional capability within the country to plan and implement integrated regional development. Covenants included in the loan agreement require that the Government of Peru designate a national park and a protected forest in the watershed and assign technical staff to the area. The project design was derived from an environmental and social assessment that classified land-use capability. The USAID mission concluded on the basis of these studies that production forestry held the greatest potential for development, that previous plans for extensive resettlement of people to increase food production were not feasible, and that major attention should be given to managing the area for the existing inhabitants, many of whom were native peoples (USAID, 1982).
The project contains 10 components, two of which are of primary interest here: natural forest management for sustained yield and the establishment of protected areas. The forest management plan involves the testing of rotational, narrow clearcut areas based on new knowledge about gap-phase dynamics and the regeneration requirements of tropical forest canopy tree species. It is hoped that this will permit natural regeneration over 30-year cycles. Current estimates are that logging 1 to 2 hectares a year will generate an adequate annual family income from 80-hectare holdings (Hartshorn, 1985).
The park and forest reserve areas were defined on the basis not only of land capability but also of their economic returns to downstream production forestry and agriculture. The project has also supported the work of an economic botanist to identify and store in local gene banks plant species of potential market value to the Palcazu people.
The example demonstrates progress, but it also raises the issue of the duration of projects that deal with renewable natural resources. Three- to six-year time