African Forests Between Nature and Livelihood Resources

This book brings together work by African, European and American scholars with various disciplinary backgrounds and sheds light on attempts to reconcile global environmental values with local livelihood needs and development aspirations. The increasing numbers of people who are becoming dependent on forest and savannah resources for their survival constitute a challenge that seems to be greater in Africa than anywhere else. In many countries on the continent, conservation efforts have often neglected the rural poor and led to a loss of access to resources that they used prior to the establishment of conservation areas. The debate on how to develop more democratic and pro-poor forms of forest management has gained momentum due to changing constellations in the partnerships for conservation and sustainable resource use. The papers presented in this book bring together experiences and lessons learnt from conservation and forest management efforts in Mali, the Congo Basin countries, Southern Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar and Ethiopia. The authors highlight successes and failures in attempts to realize sustainable and pro-poor forest management and address the questions related to the conditions under which power imbalances and conflicting interest can be reconciled through multi-sector partnerships. This book is one of the first to deal with the effects of globalisation and decentralization on tropical forest management in Africa. As such, it contributes to the globalisation and shifts in governance debates in social and policy sciences, and to the debate in human geography circles on how processes at different scales interact and influence each other. The book not only advocates a multi-disciplinary approach but also puts it into practice and therefore presents a number of different proposals for policy actions, institutional development and research.


"Things have not gone well for Africa. Civil wars, epidemics, lack of accountability, corruption, low public investment, declining terms of trade and bad donor advice have taken a heavy toll. In many countries the people have gotten poorer and the economic and social infrastructure and natural wealth have deteriorated. Given that situation, hundreds of millions of rural Africans have little choice but to rely on local natural resources to survive ... The rules governing access to Africa's resources are often ambiguous, contradictory and contested ... This book ... looks at both the broad debates and specific examples from all over Africa ... The book's last section looks inwards to the roles of research itself. It makes clear it is not just a matter of providing technical answers; it is also about pulling together evidence to support reforms and making sure it gets into the right hands ? It [research] is about pulling together information to solve problems. Africa's forests and villagers clearly have a lot of those and we need more efforts like this to find the answers." – (from the Commendatory Preface) Dr. David Kaimowitz, Director General of the Centre of International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

" ... the manuscript is a timely concretization of global expressions of aspirations which commenced at Stockholm in 1972 ... the manuscript is very well done, as a scholarly compendium with even geographical coverage. The scholarly work is cogent and readable. The publication will be a useful handbook for scholars and policy makers. As a scholarly work it will be useful for comparative understanding of problems of land use, biological diversity and the perennial problems of food security ... " – C.O. Okidi, Professor of Environmental law and Director of CASELAP, University of Nairobi

" ... The book notes the recent trend towards participatory approaches to research but calls for meta-level research on the effectiveness of such research and training methods. This is a very welcome note of caution about the latest in a long line of innovations in research and practice, each of which has been embraced enthusiastically by the research and conservation communities, but often with very little practical effect ... This work ... promises to be extremely valuable for researchers and practitioners alike. It is also a model for others to follow." – Charles Perrings, Professor of Environmental Economics and Environmental management, The University of York

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface by David Kaimowitz
1. Reconciling conservation goals and livelihood needs: New forest management perspectives in the 21st century
2. The Congo Basin forests at the crossroads: Managing or mining the forests?
3. Rural dynamics and biodiversity conservation in Southern Africa
4. Forest access and rural livelihoods in Southwest Ethiopia: An analysis of the record of forest management partnership
5. Biodiversity conservation through burning: A case study of woodlands in Budongo Forest Reserve, NW Uganda
6. Local people and benefits in Integrated Biodiversity Conservation: A case study from Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
7. Global forest management decisions and local use of forest resources in Kenya: Exploring the link
8. What local benefits does the implementation of rural wood markets in Mali generate?
9. Dealing with power imbalances in forest management: Reconciling multiple legal systems in South Cameroon
10. Neo-African governance: Old and new institutions for resource conflict resolution
11. Beyond rhetoric: Policy and institutional arrangements for partnership in community-based forest biodiversity management and conservation in Kenya
12. The role of science in reconciling multiple forest uses: A multi-disciplinary experience in Cameroon
13. Strategic partnerships for combating forest conversion and the role of financial institutions – learning from action research
14. Can globalised science work for the poor? Forest perspectives from West Africa
15. Sustainable forests and livelihoods: Romantic illusion or environmental and social necessity?