INTRODUCTION• Forests are being lost at alarming rate in Ghana• Forest land declined from 8.1 million ha to 2.1 million ha within the last century• The declining forest resources impact negatively on human livelihood and the environment• Therefore urgent measures needed to curb continuous degradation & deforestation • Hence an ITTO‐funded project implemented by FORIG to rehabilitate some degraded forests with collaboration of local communities (2000‐2005)
Project Objectives1) To determine the underlying causes of forest degradation and the impact of forest degradation on the lives of local communities2) To determine the impact of forest degradation on the forest ecosystem and the processes of recovery after degradation in these ecosystems3) To establish, in collaboration with the local communities, demonstration plantations for rehabilitating the degraded forests and to strengthen the capacities of local communities in plantation establishment.4) To determine the costs of establishment, maintenance and protection of plantations by local communities.5) To establish guidelines for community involvement in plantation establishment that could serve as a model in tropical countries.
METHODSProject sites: • 4 forest fringe communities around Pamu Berekum Forest Reserve (Dry‐Semi‐Deciduous) in Dormaa Forest District
Methods (cont’d)• Awareness campaigns • PRA techniques • Workshops (including start‐up workshop) – To ensure stakeholders understood the project concept, opportunities, limits and modalities, roles & responsibilities, collaborative planning & implementation, effective community management and community ownership • Capacity building – provided local communities with technical expertise and guidance to establish plantations in degraded areas• Plantation establishment
RESULTS/ACHIEVEMENTS• Capacities of local communities built in nursery production and plantation establishment in degraded forests• The establishment of 100 ha of plantations on degraded sites using 12 indigenous tree species: i. Albizia zygia i. Khaya anthotheca ii. Alstonia boonei ii. Khaya ivorensis iii. Aningeria robusta viii. Nauclea dederichii, iv. Ceiba pentandra ix. Pericopsis elata v. Entandrophragma angolense x. Terminalia ivorensis vi. Entandrophragma utilis xi. Terminalia superba• Model plantations made of indigenous Ghanaian tree species
• Survival rates for all the indigenous species were above 90%• Growth rates in trees correspond well to or exceed those found in such exotic species as teak• Restoring biodiversity in project areas brought corresponding increases in NTFP species. • Provision of livelihood to the local communities through the food crop they inter‐planted in plantations and training in grass cutter rearing as alternative livelihood Natural regeneration of Milicia excelsa in the 4‐ year old plantation understory in Southern Scarp
A degraded forest landscape at a project site in Pamu Brekum FR
A degraded forest landscape in one of the The same project site restored by the project sites, Pamu Berekum FR prior to ITTO project 4 years later project implementation
Restored project site at Southern scarp FR (Begoro) 8 years after planting
LESSONS LEARNTLessons for the success as well as shortcomings of the projectSuccess• Project objectives were consistent with the needs and constraints of the local communities.• Project start‐up workshops are useful to ensure success of projects involving many partners, including local communities. • The local communities had a genuine interest in using their lands to produce both food crops and NTFPs. The project just provided a learning point into that dual need.
• The local communities benefited from the project, in terms of food, NTFPs and income generation• Appropriate incentives were provided to the local people in the form of equipment (boots, cutlasses, nursery equipment etc)• The project organization and management was good – There were key staff who had defined responsibilities. Some staff of the project were in other institutions which time schedule and activities did not allow them to implement activities as and when required.
ShortcomingsShortcomings which if addressed could have led to greater success• Lack of policy and legal backing hampers community based rehabilitation initiatives (this has recently been addressed)• Lack of clarity on land and tree ownership issues (also recently addressed)• Lack of pre‐project baseline data on local communities (socio‐ economic conditions)• Lack of provision for ensuring project sustainability and ensuring preventive measures and incentives to stop the people from repeating activities responsible for degradation• Project sustainability after ITTO funding has not yet been resolved with the Forest Services Division• Another operational lesson was with the inadequate supervision of and regular provision of technical advice to the local communities
CONCLUSION• The project was successful and had the active collaboration of the local people• The local communities were actively involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project. • Results obtained are of great importance for sustainable timber production, community development & benefits, biodiversity conservation and forest restoration• Capacity building of the local communities in nursery production, plantation establishment as well as fire protection and control were given considerable attention in the project. • Significant was the provision of incentives to the participating farmers as well as regular consultations of the communities with the project technical staff.• This project demonstrated that reversing tropical forest degradation is possible. For this we need local involvement in tree domestication combined with activities that address livelihood needs and environmental concerns.
RECOMMENDATIONS• Project start‐up workshops should be organized for all projects at their inception. – Project start‐up workshops are useful to ensure success of projects involving many partners, including local communities. • The issues and arrangements to be discussed, clarified and agreed upon must include roles and responsibilities of each actor or partner, the concerns and needs of the local people who are the immediate beneficiaries, as well as benefit‐sharing arrangements. • Meeting some of these needs at the start of the project can stimulate effective participation from some actors• Benefit sharing arrangements agreed upon should be endorsed by all stakeholders including traditional authorities and local community representatives.
• Pre‐project baseline data on local communities (socio‐economic conditions) should be part of all future projects because they are important to fully assess project impacts later.• Few institutions should be involved in implementation of future projects. • However no matter the number of parties, a memorandum of understanding should be signed by all interested parties and this should be carried out to the last letter. • The local communities should be equipped in terms of capacity and resources to effectively manage the plantations they have established• Personnel supervising projects and providing technical advice should be full time so that they will be available when farmers and other local community members need them.
Acknowledgement• ITTO • Government of Ghana• Project team