Table 1. List of the 58 variables conforming the database for characterization of rural forests

Ecological characterization
Ecosystem transformation Indicates to which extent man-induced practices have modified natural environment
Ecosystem stability Indicates ecological dynamics currently observed
Antiquity of uses Indicates the history of use of the forest
Tree domestication Indicates direct human intervention on individual trees (selection of varieties, intentional pruning, etc.)
Tree stand domestication Indicates management of tree stand (height homogeneity, types of individuals)
Landscape domestication Indicates the level of anthropic transformation of the overall landscape
Forest fragmentation Indicates the level of forest scattering within the landscape
Forest ratio Indicates the importance of forested areas
Tree species diversity Indicates the species richness of the forest (with respect to the average found in the region)
Tree cover

Stakeholders, Rules
Importance of individual stakeholder in forest management Indicates the role of individual stakeholders in forest management
Importance of collective institutions in forest management Indicates the role of collective institutions (traditional, formally constituted, etc.) in forest management
Non formal collective actions Indicates collective action relative to forest management outside of formal recognition
Importance of the state in forest management Indicates the role of state services in forest management
New interveners/stakeholders in Sustainable Development Indicates the presence and importance of stakeholders claiming sustainable development actions (environmental associations, authorized firms, etc.)
New interveners/stakeholders not linked to Sustainable Development Indicates the presence and importance of new stakeholders outside the SD sphere (private commercial firms, etc.)
Overt conflicts between public policies and local stakeholders Indicates conflicting claims for the use of forests
User’s rights restrictions imposed by the state Indicates the degree of freedom given to stakeholders by public policies
Existence of collectively developed user’s rules on forest resources Indicates if user’s rules have been developed collectively within local communities
Respect of users’ restrictions by stakeholders Indicates if uses restrictions (whatever the origin) are actually followed by stakeholders
Control of uses by state Indicates if there is an effective control of uses rules at national level
Control of collective uses rules Indicates if there is an effective control of the rules at community level
Collective forest land tenure Collectively owned forests
Private forest land tenure Individually owned forests
State forest land tenure State owned forests

Uses and functions
Browsing, tree forage
Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP)
Agriculture Indicates if agricultural activities are performed in the forest (crops, groves, plantations, rangelands, etc.)
Tourism Implication of forests in tourism activities
Sacred character Indicates if forests hold a special place and meaning in the local cosmogony (sacred areas, sacred trees, etc.)
Multiple uses Indicates diversity in forest resources uses
Trading functions Indicates if forests are generating commercial/trading incomes
Self-consumption functions Indicates the importance of forest resources for household self-consumption
Reserve/security functions Indicates an eventual role of forests as resource for emergency events (emergency forage, or foods in case of extreme climatic events for example)
Marking territory functions Indicates an eventual role of forests in dividing the territory in differentiated plots
Patrimony functions Indicates the patrimonial dimension attributed to forests (place of forest in representation systems, transmission, and family or lineage heritage)
Identity functions Indicates the place of forests in the identity of local communities

Knowledge, know-how, practices
Traditional naturalist knowledge in forest management Indicates the extent of traditional knowledge involved in the management of forests
Tree-related knowledge Indicates the extent of common held knowledge related to individual trees (type of pruning, level of extraction pressure, etc.)
Tree stand-related knowledge Indicated the extent of common held knowledge related tree stands (tree density, tree conduct, etc.)
Landscape knowledge Indicates the extent of common held knowledge related to landscape (connectivity, exposition arrangement, ecosystem interactions, etc.?)
Know-how on transformation of forest products
Know-how on valorization of forest products
Organizational know-how Indicates if local communities have developed collective mechanisms for differentiation and valorization of forest resources uses
Political know-how Indicates if local communities have developed political relays to convey their opinion concerning forest management

Dynamics, changes and stakes
Regression of forested areas
Increase of forested areas
Observed changes of forest uses and management
Exogenous origins of these changes
Observed s transformations of social systems Indicates if local communities are undergoing transformation in their social functioning
Stakes concerning biodiversity
Stakes concerning erosion, and water and soil conservation
Forest-agriculture integration Indicates the level of integration of forestry and agricultural activities
Forest-other activities integration Indicates the level of associations of forestry activities and other activities, such as tourism, environmental protection, etc.
Stakes concerning local territory construction and securitization Indicates if forests are the objects of territorial stakes at local level
Economical stakes
Social stakes