Sustainable Development Success Stories
|Responsible Organisation||Ghana Forestry Department.|
|Description||Timber is a
valuable product for Ghana and its industrial sector, but for
the village communities living close to the forest reserves,
non-timber forest products are more important. The trade of
non-timber products is a flourishing industry, with trade and
processing serving as a source for supplemental or seasonal
income, as well as a source of emergency revenue during hard
times. Non-timber forest products include herbaceous plants,
such as the Marantaceae leaves, used to wrap food (such
as fried plantain or cooked rice), cola nuts, spices, salt,
The Forestry Department manages forests through familiar means such as forest guards, demarcation lines, management plans and more recently yield regulation and control. Reserve boundaries are generally respected, but the condition of the forest is worsening. Illegal logging, illegal mining, bushfires and illegal farming are all problems that plague the Forestry Department.
The Forestry Department's regulatory system alone did not secure the resource. The challenge for foresters was to combine their silvicultural systems and logging control with community based activities that enhance forest management.
Leaf gathering was subject to difficulties ranging from a cumbersome and expensive Forestry Department (FD) permit system, wild bushfires, inadequate resources to police the forest and the lack of dialogue between forestry officials and the leaf gatherers. In response, a Participatory Forest Management Unit (PFMU) was initiated to work with the District Forest Officer and the leaf gatherers from Kwapanin to modify the system.
The objectives of the experiment were:
|Issues Addressed||Changing consumption and production patterns, forest protection and management.|
|Results Achieved||A registration
system was established conferring most of the responsibility for
monitoring the gatherers to village institutions. Parties agreed
that all gathers would register with PFMU, with the queen
mother, who was the head spokesperson of the gatherers, and the
village chief ensuring that only those registered would enter
The programme generated interest among the villagers in protecting the forest reserve from bushfires, greater efforts to curb overexploitation and improved relations between the Forestry Department and the villagers.
|Contact||Ms. Mary M.O.
Forestry and Land Use Programme
International Institute for Environment and Development
3 Endsleigh Street
London WC1H 0DD, UK
Tel. (44) 171 388 2117; Fax (44) 171 388 2826.