5th International GAFORN Symposium 08 – 12 July 2013 University of Eldoret Kenya

Rising global energy prices force a general evasion towards wood and other renewable primary products. The ongoing depletion of natural forest resources has led to drastic natural catastrophes with damages in the billion´s in important Asian countries, often resulting in a ban of utilization.Thethus increased demand and pressure of Asian Great Powers on Africa is leading to a destabilization of the African natural environment and entail disastrous effects, especially in the poorest countries. The concept of sustainability isunlikely to be applied by those external actors who are lacking any historical or social relation to the new supplier. In addition, there is a gap of knowledge how to sustainably operate in dry climates in an eco-friendly and resourceconserving way. Depletion often leads to secondary salinization, generation of grassland savannahs, and even to an (irreversible) further desertification. Challenges can be seen in the specific valorization of degraded natural forests through appropriate silvicultural methods, the establishment and maintenance of well-adapted plantations (afforestation particularly with nativetree species), and furthermore in the transformation of existing but rather risky plantations predominantly or exclusively established as monocultures of fast-growing, exotic tree species. The promotion of private and small-scale farming structures is expected to bear significant potential, and there are several good examples (e.g. Vietnam, Nepal) that might be applied. The selected topics of this Symposium consider recent controversial developments and future tasks. Although common issues and challenges can be perceived for Asia and Africa, there are several forest-concerning and countryspecific matters and needs that should be taken care of. The University of Göttingen and especially the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology have a large number of Alumni from African countries which are sporadically involved in various research and development projects, yet could not be assigned to a specific network. Given the fact that Africa is currently more and more in the focus of the future development cooperation, professional networks, as already established in other regions, may also be promoted in African countries.


Continuation as well as regional and thematic
expansion of GAForN

  • Continuation as well as regional and thematic
    expansion of GAForN
  • Promotion of
  • sustainable forest management and
    awareness of forests´ importance
    (comprehensive sustainable development and
    management of renewable resources)
  • the Nature Conservation concept (protection
    of forests and biodiversity)
  • regional and appropriate strategies and
    measures for forest conversion/ valorization,
    reforestation, and maintenance of forest
  • cooperation with existing research projects,
    particularly in the border areas
  • concepts of small-scale (rural) structures and
    approaches of agroforestry as a contribution
    to rural development

Thematic Background
Subtopics dealt with in presentations, discussions, exercises and
excursion included:

  • Indigenous Land and Forest Management Systems
  • Non-Wood Forest Products
  • Global Timber Market
  • Farmer’s Participation

The Symposium took place at the University
of Eldoret, Kenya. Eldoret is located 310 kilometres
northwest of Nairobi and has an international airport.

The Symposium was organized by the Section for
Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Forestry
(SeTSAF), Centre of Biodiversity and Sustainable
Land Use of the Georg-August-University
Göttingen, Germany, and managed by the
University of Eldoret, Kenya. It
took place in the framework of the German
Alumni Forest Network (GAForN) which is
financially supported by the German Academic
Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the
German Ministry of Economic Cooperation.

Cost Coverage
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
was providing financial support for the Symposium.
The following costs were covered:

  • Travel expenses
  • Accommodation and living costs
  • Excursion (transport, meals)
  • Course material
  • Social and cultural programme

Invited participants were mainly graduates from German Universities and/or former DAAD scholarship holders that are involved in existing regional and international networks, or working in forestry related fields. GAForN members were especially encouraged to participate.