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Forest Law and Governance: Reports

Lessons learned from community forests in Mexico and Guatemala, to benefit community forest work in West and Central Africa

This paper summarises Fern staff member Julia Christian's lessons from studying community forestry in Mexico and Petén (Guatemala), from March-July 2016, hosted by the Mexican non-governmental organisation Reforestamos. To see a photo-blog of her experience visit Mexico's community forest protectors.

How much do communities get from logging? Social obligations in the logging sector in Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia and Republic of Congo

This study looks at the benefits gained by local communities from the logging industry in Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia and the Republic of Congo and was carried out with support from and on request of local NGOs in these countries.

The first conclusion of the study is that the amounts redistributed to local communities are relatively small. In Liberia – the best case scenario – 30 per cent of area-based tax is available to the communities adjacent to where logging takes place. In addition, these communities receive a fixed ‘cubic metre fee’ direct from the logging company. This means that in theory Liberian communities should receive at least some 26 per cent of logging revenues. In all other countries the proportion is much less.

It is also available in a summary version.

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PDF iconfern how much.pdf2.41 MB
PDF iconHow much summary.pdf1.93 MB

Community forests: A discussion document for Fern and partners

Anyone who works with forest dwellers across the world asks themselves the following question at some point or another: Can community forests be a viable alternative to industrial logging? If so, what form would this alternative take and is it achievable? This report seeks to analyse this question in the hope of clearing up the debates and discussions between Fern’s various partners.

 

 

 

 

Scoping Study on EU-China Relationships in the Forestry Sector

China’s rapid economic growth has spurred a massive demand for natural resources – including timber, agricultural commodities and minerals – the vast bulk of which are imported. Although it is estimated that the proportion of China’s imports of illegally sourced timber has fallen, the total volume of illegally sourced timber nearly doubled from 17 million in 2005 to 33 million m3 in 2013. A substantial part of these imports is exported to Europe.

In discussions on protecting forests, respecting rights and controlling illegal timber, China matters. In the Mekong region and West and Central Africa, our partners tell us that China matters too.

Fern therefore commissioned this study to inform us about China’s efforts to tackle the trade in illegal and unsustainable produced timber and to provide us with some guidance for a possible strategy to inform EU-China efforts to control the trade in illegally sourced timber.

The information is relevant to colleagues in the global NGO community, as well as those in the European Commission, Member States’ governments, the timber trade and the academic community. We welcome comments, corrections, suggestions and discussion on how to better engage China to ensure its economic growth will have fewer negative and social impacts.

Do FLEGT VPAs improve governance?

Fern has published research showing that the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) have led to clear improvements in forest governance. the publication of the research came as the European Commission released an independent review of the FLEGT Action Plan, the EU’s flagship forest policy

The research was based on responses from representatives of civil society networks that coordinate efforts to im­prove their countries’ forest sectors.

The VPA trade deals are a central pillar of the FLEGT Action Plan; they rightly assume that tackling illegal logging requires significant governance reforms in timber-producing countries, without which regulations will not be effective.

This report examines the five key pillars of good governance identified by Fern and others (accountability, transparency, coordination, participation and capacity), with an additional question about the quality of pro-poor legal reforms and implementation in the forest sector.

The findings and recommendations in this report have been endorsed by the Community Rights Network (CRN), which met in April 2016 to discuss common strategies to improve forest governance and strengthen community rights worldwide.

Protecting forests, improving livelihoods - Comparing community forestry in Cameroon and Guatemala

This report conducts a comparison between the experience of community forests in Guatemala and in Cameroon. Community forests in Guatemala have met with some success, in some cases becoming effective enterprises at the same time as achieving some of the best conservation results in the country. By contrast, Cameroon’s community forests have been plagued with elite capture, corruption and mismanagement by private logging contractors. This has caused devastation to forests, with the majority of community members seeing little to none of the revenues.

This is one of four papers commissioned to inform discussions at a workshop held in Brussels in April 2014, which brought together participants from 30 countries to share their understanding and experience of community forestry, and develop action plans for their own countries. This was in response to many of Fern’s partner organisations lobbying for the creation of community forests as a way of allowing communities to directly benefit from forest management.

The other papers can be found at http://www.fern.org/small-scale-livelihood

Protecting forests, improving livelihoods – Community forestry in Mexico

This report by Ernesto Herrera Guerra, outlines the lessons that have been learned from Mexico’s approach to community forestry.

Mexico’s community forests are among the most advanced in the world, with communities collectively owning more than 50 million hectares of the country’s 63 million hectares of forest and forest management decisions largely being made at local level.

This is one of four papers commissioned to inform discussions at a workshop held in Brussels in April 2014, which brought together participants from 30 countries to share their understanding and experience of community forestry, and develop action plans for their own countries. This was in response to many of Fern’s partner organisations lobbying for the creation of community forests as a way of allowing communities to directly benefit from forest management.

The other papers can be found at http://www.fern.org/small-scale-livelihood

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Most recent publications

ForestWatch VPA Update November 2017: A year on from FLEGT licensing

LoggingOff and Fern publish occasional Forest Watch updates detailing events in countries negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement from a civil society perspective.

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PDF iconVPA Update Nov2017.pdf5.35 MB

Sacrificing South America’s forests on the altar of EU market access

The first trade talks between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc of nations - Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – began almost 20 years ago. Since then they have stuttered through 28 rounds of negotiations, but this year it looks as if an agreement will finally be reached. A critical issue remains unresolved, however: the amount of beef the South American nations can export to the EU...

The fate of the Congo Basin forests must lie with its people

By Marie-Ange Kalenga

A light breeze of democratisation is blowing through the Congo Basin – and it is being driven by civil society.

Analysis of gender impacts of the Ghana Voluntary Partnership Agreement with European Union

Fern commissioned this study of gender issues in Ghana’s FLEGT VPA as a tentative first step to looking at gender issues which have to date received only scant attention.It offers TAYLOR CRABBE INNITIATIVE’s observations about how gender issues have been dealt with i

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PDF iconbriefing gender ghana final.pdf741.67 KB

Independent Forest Monitoring: a chance for improved governance in VPA countries?

The forest sector is particularly vulnerable to poor governance including corruption, fraud, and organised crime. Illegality in the sector generates vast sums of money and has helped fuel long and bloody conflicts.

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PDF iconforest monitoring final.pdf514.15 KB

Ghana is on the brink of a major advance in its fight against illegal logging. But now its forests face serious threat from mining.

By Samuel Mawutor

Between 1990 and 2005 Ghana lost an estimated quarter of its national forest cover. Illegal timber harvesting was rife, and poor governance and a lack of transparency plagued the forest sector.

Things began to change for the better from 2008 with the introduction of the Natural Resources and Environmental Governance programme, an initiative supported by international donors on the basis that Ghana agreed to reform its forest sector, and improve the governance of its natural resources more generally.

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