Assessing the contribution of collaborative forest management to the livelihood of households in the Ashanti Region

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The role forests play in the livelihood of households in Ghana cannot be underestimated. Forest resources constitute the source of livelihood of about 70% of Ghanaians; however, Ghana’s forest resource base is shrinking at an alarming rate which has led to decline in forest environmental quality and considerable loss in biodiversity. This is becoming a major concern for forest sector stakeholders including Government and civil society groups involved in poverty alleviation programmes and projects. This situation coupled with the global concern for climate change, eradication of poverty and other environmental problems has attracted a number initiatives which will promote equitable distribution of incentives and benefits associated with the forest resource to enhance sustainable forest management. Collaborative Forest Resource Management (CFRM) has been a subject of concern to the forestry sector since the mid 80s. This is due to the fact that sustainability of the forest resource depends to a large extent on the involvement of indigenous people in the decision making, management and sharing of benefits that accrue. This also has a potential of transforming the lives of the people involved. This study therefore was to assess the contribution of CFRM to the livelihood of households. The specific objectives of the study were to assess the extent of collaborative forest resource management in the selected region in Ghana, examine its implication on livelihoods and the standard of living of households in forest fringe communities and assess the challenges involved. Data was collected from a number of households in the Ashanti Region, Ghana between April and July 2011 and aimed at providing information on various CFRM initiatives, the achievements of such initiatives, the sustainability of these initiatives and the challenges in collaborative forest resource management. The data collection was carried out through interviews and focus group discussions using structured and un-structured questionnaires. Secondary data was also obtained from various sources. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection was employed to meet the objective of the study. Data was analyzed and the results displayed in tables, pie charts and graphs. The study revealed that: • The forestry sector contributes about 6 percent to the national gross domestic product (GDP). iv • Collaborative forest management initiatives with financial benefits to a larger extent have a positive impact on the livelihood and standard of living of households in the forest fringe communities in the Ashanti Region. • Low remuneration for the people employed under CFRM initiatives makes it unattractive to young household heads. This coupled with sustainability, lack of continuity of initiatives and lack of legal backing for some of the initiatives like the community forest committees poses are major challenges for forest management in the region. In conclusion, Collaborative Forest Resource Management played an important role in the livelihood of households and humanity as a whole but this can be achieved in totality when the numerous challenges it faces are addressed. It is thus recommended that measures be put in place to provide incentives especially better remuneration packages to make collaborative forest management attractive to people, especially household heads in the youth cohort so as to enhance its benefits and also support poverty alleviation programmes in the country.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PLANNING.