The perception of stakeholders to the development of forest certification policy in Ghana - the case of Dunkwa Forest District

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The project is centred on the forest certification, which is a guarantee that the forest resource come from well-managed forest. In this study the focus on certification is its role as a tool in ensuring that stakeholders contribute effectively in sustainable forest management. The research work therefore concentrate on the perception of stakeholders to the development of certification policy in Ghana. Certification initiatives are being perused by Ghana government and the perception of stakeholders to the development of the policy is needed. The emphasis in forest management is now towards stakeholder participation. The study aims at finding out whether certification can have effect on sustainable forest management and to identify the costs and benefits which stake holders are likely to incur when certification policy is fully implemented. Dunkuwa Forest District is being used as the study area. Primary and secondary data, field observations and focus group interviews and discussions indicate that stakeholders have the perception that certification would have a high potential to greatly support and improve sustainable forest management in Ghana. These are to be achieved through better enforcement of law and regulations. Stricter compliance with district quota allocation for regulating timber harvesting outside forest reserves (DFA), prosecution of forest offenders, enhancing better prices of forest produce among others. Many stakeholders perceived that certification will create real change in forest management. These will he practicable in Ghana though requires local modifications. The survey also identified costs (sacrifices,) and economic benefits, which stakeholders would incur when certification policy is fully implemented. Generally some of the costs (sacrifices) cover forest protection, monitoring and patrolling, educational awareness creation, stock survey & yield allocation, physical attacks, strict compliance with laws and regulations, commitment and collaboration with respect to time and funds. In industry costs indentified are in the areas of strict adherence to standards and prescription, better motivation of worker. District Assemblies also incur some costs in directing financial resources into afforestation programmes and their commitment towards collaboration in environmental issues. When the certification policy is finally implemented Forest Managers will obtain some economic benefits which include sound forests management, sustainable flow of forest resources and reduction in illegal timber operations. The communities and stool landowners are also to benefit from better terms in Social Responsibility Agreements (SRAs) and increased access to wood resources for construction. The District Assemblies are to experience higher revenue inflows and quality environment. Generally the study concludes that stakeholder concerns should be integrated into certification policy before implementation
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science in Environmental Resources, 2001