Notes to broadcasters

These scripts are meant to be used as an introduction to an on-air discussion or a series of interviews with farmers and experts in your community. Try to adapt the scripts to include tree species known to your audience, and laws or issues of land tenure that are relevant in your area.

Remember in your discussions with farmers that tree ownership is one part of the broader land tenure issues. It is very important that farmers understand their rights to trees and other natural resources. If farmers understand the laws that regulate access to trees and land, they can make informed decisions that benefit their farming practices.


Story #1: Two men and a tree


A man is walking down the road, carrying an axe.

He is on his way to chop down a tree.

He plans to sell the wood — he needs the money.

On the path he meets his neighbour, also carrying an axe.

As they walk together they comment on what a coincidence it is that they are both going to cut a tree!

After some more walking and talking, they arrive at their destination.

They are surprised — and dismayed! — to discover that they are both planning to cut down the same tree.

They have an argument.

Farmer A argues that the tree is on his land — land that has been in his family for generations.

Therefore the tree is his.

Farmer B replies that he was the person who planted that tree.

He and his son planted it on a day he can well remember, many years ago.

Therefore it is his tree.

And he has the right to cut down the tree.

The argument continues.

They cannot come to an agreement.

Eventually they decide they need another person to help resolve their difference.

Imagine that these two farmers come to you for help.

You are the wisest person in the community.

It is up to you to decide.

Note to broadcaster
: Now ask your guests how they would settle this argument, who they think owns the tree and why, and how they could find out the laws that govern tree ownership in their community.

In your opinion, who owns the tree?

Story #2: Is this system fair?


On one plot of land, six different trees are growing.

The trees that are growing are locust bean, acacia, plum, mango, eucalyptus and citrus.

They are all on the same plot of land — so you might think that they are owned by the same person, or by one family.

But no.

These six trees are not all owned by one person, or by one family, although they are tended by one family.

According to local law, the different trees on this plot of land are owned by different people.

The family that planted and tends all of the trees owns only three of them — the mango, the eucalyptus and the citrus.

But the family does not own the other three trees.

The other three trees — the locust bean, the plum and the acacia — are free for anyone to cut.

Any member of the community has the right to cut down and use the locust bean trees, plums and acacia trees.

As you can see, the legal system in this community applies different rules of ownership to different species of trees.

Who benefits most from this system?

How do you think these rules were developed?

And finally, in your opinion, is this a fair system of tree ownership?


Contributed by: Jennifer Pittet, Developing Countries Farm Radio Network.