An evaluation of the effectiveness of differing levels of extension assistance in improving the adoption and management of small-scale forestry in Leyte Island, the Philippines

John Baynes (2009). An evaluation of the effectiveness of differing levels of extension assistance in improving the adoption and management of small-scale forestry in Leyte Island, the Philippines PhD Thesis, School of Integrative Systems, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author John Baynes
Thesis Title An evaluation of the effectiveness of differing levels of extension assistance in improving the adoption and management of small-scale forestry in Leyte Island, the Philippines
School, Centre or Institute School of Integrative Systems
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr John Herbohn
Dr Iean Russell
Total pages 279
Total colour pages 9
Total black and white pages 270
Subjects 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Abstract/Summary This thesis presents an evaluation of the effectiveness of an agroforestry extension program to smallholder farmers on Leyte Island, the Philippines. The imperative for reforestation is well recognised in the Philippines and was the impetus for this program which provided farmers with assistance to establish and silviculturally manage timber trees on their land. Because the cost-effectiveness of agroforestry extension is increased if farmers develop self-efficacy without extensive training, the extension program was offered in two regimes to test the necessity for extended assistance. In the extended assistance regime, farmers were offered on-site assistance to collect seed, grow seedlings, prepare sites and establish trees, whereas in the limited assistance regime, farmers were only offered assistance to collect seed and grow seedlings. Descriptive statistics were collected of farmers’ acceptance of technology and the manner in which technology was adapted to suit their personal circumstances. Translated conversations between farmers and extension staff also provided a rich source of data which provided insights into farmers’ motivation. Extension activities were reviewed at a mid-program workshop, a final on-site inspection and an end-of-program workshop. Farmers responded positively to the extended assistance program which helped them to grow and out-plant seedlings. The limited assistance program was relatively unsuccessful. Overall, the extension program was successful in shifting the initiative for further planting from extension staff to participating farmers. However, farmers showed little interest in applying silvicultural thinning or pruning to existing plantations of trees because extension advice was not congruent with their existing mental models of these procedures. Systems modelling of socio-economic variables which had been found to affect program outcomes was used to predict critical success factors. A key constraint to program recruitment was found to be farmers’ perception of harvest security, even when their needs for technology and planting materials are met. Modelling also cast doubt on the usefulness of written extension materials and emphasised the necessity for extended face-to-face technical assistance. Although conducted in Leyte, the findings of this research provide guidance for issues which affect the adoption of agroforestry both in the Philippines and in other countries. The research found that it was possible to recruit and motivate farmers without providing material incentives. If farmers experienced unexpected problems, providing extended face-to-face contact and assistance was critical if catastrophic losses of participating farmers were to be avoided. The failure of attempts to introduce advanced-age silviculture also indicated a need to elicit farmers’ mental models as a precursor or parallel enquiry to extension activities. In a situation where little was initially known about farmers’ understanding of agroforestry technology or the variables which affect their acceptance or rejection of extension assistance, the results of this research have shown that it is possible to build the capacity of farmers to establish timber trees. This result is in contrast to the acknowledged failure of the logging concession system in the Philippines and the difficulties faced by some industrial plantations and community-based programs. This investigation has shown that an opportunity exists to lift the level of tree planting in Leyte, provided that system variables which are either critical success factors or impediments are addressed.
Keyword extension program
expert group
self-efficacy
small-scale nursery
Swietenia macrophylla
mental model
silviculture
systems modelling
Bayesian belief network
Additional Notes 61, 73, 111, 116, 120, 273, 274, 275, 278

 
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Created: Sat, 27 Feb 2010, 18:49:57 EST by Mr John Baynes on behalf of Library - Information Access Service