The IFP believes that South Africa’s forests constitute a vital national asset and are an important part of the country’s heritage. Forests, both natural and planted, should be preserved, extended and properly managed.
Provincial and national competence
Responsibility for forestry management is, in terms of the Constitution, based on the principle of concurrent competence. The provinces are responsible for the day to day administration, while the national government is required to support provincial governments. The IFP favours the transfer of forestry management, in its entirety, to provincial governments because they are better placed to understand and deal with the effects that forestry management has on rural communities.
The IFP supports the active development of plans to encourage the planting of trees in urban and peri-urban environments for improving the quality of life and combating soil erosion. It is vital that natural forests be preserved to maintain bio-diversity and because of their importance for tourism.
The IFP believes that efforts should be made to encourage the use of alternative methods of heating and cooking in order to spare natural forests and woodlands. Solar energy should be more extensively employed.
Community based forestry
The economic potential of woodlands and forests should be studied with a view to encouraging small business to exploit wood resources from man made forests for the provision of goods to the tourist industry, and for firewood. In this regard, the IFP supports the improvement in extension services and in the training of extension officers. Environmentally sound woodlots and plantations are crucial to rural economies. More seedlings must be made available for controlled planting.
Land taken from traditional authorities for timber growing should be returned to these communities and they must have access to ancestral burial sites.
Capital mobilisation for the expansion of community forestry has become urgent.
Forests as recreation areas
In the case of privately owned forests and woodlands, the rights of the owners should be respected, but local communities should be encouraged to promote the opening of forests and woodlands to the public for recreation.
The IFP believes that the industrial forestry sector should be encouraged because of its potential as an employer. In addition, paper re-cycling should be actively encouraged to increase the available sources of fibre. The IFP supports the search for alternative sources of fibre.
The IFP favours the rapid privatisation of the forestry industry and the sale of the state’s share of SAFCOL.
The IFP would like to see an expansion of the sawn timber industry .
Encouragement, through financial assistance, should be given to new entrants into timber farming.
The IFP supports the development of joint forest management arrangements.