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Local communities' knowledge and perception of FLEGT -VPA - insights from Ghana

Yaw Appau and Mercy Afua Adutwumwaa Derkyi

Forest Policy and Economics, 2022, vol. 144, issue C

Abstract: As part of actions to regulate illegal logging and timber trade, with the long-term goal of improving forest governance, FLEGT-VPA has been proposed. This study assessed the local communities' knowledge and perception of FLEGT-VPA activities in Ghana. The study was conducted within three communities in the Goaso Forest District in the Ahafo Region of Ghana. A total of one hundred and five (N=105) respondents were involved by administering a structured questionnaire to obtain field data. The study results showed that most respondents were knowledgeable about FLEGT-VPA activities, of which 97% knew that forest communities' responsibility is to report any illegal forest activities to forestry authorities. Only 15% of the respondents know illicit logs could be seized or rejected on the European market. It was also ascertained that community-led forest monitoring was perceived to have the potential to improve community participation and reduce illegal forest activities. However, respondents noted that sustained implementation of the Community-led Forest monitoring could be constrained by lack of funds and non-enforcement of sanctions on forest offenders. The majority of the respondents (86%) indicated their willingness to participate in FLEGT-VPA activities through forest protection, enforcement of laws, and assistance in developing management plans. However, respondents mentioned factors such as elite capture, lack of transparency, and lack of trust between communities and forest managers that might undermine local people's willingness to support forest management. The study concludes that regardless of the perception and understanding of FLEGT-VPA activities, especially the community-led forest monitoring, the local governance structure remains vital to people's active and broad participation in forest management activities.

Keywords: Forest law enforcement governance and trade; Voluntary partnership agreement; Forest governance; Community participation; Independent Forest Monitoring; Community Forest Monitoring; Knowledge; Perception; Ghana (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102837

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