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Forest governance and social justice: practical tactics from a learning group approach in Africa

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Livelihoods and forests are often in trouble because people are marginalized from governance. The forest governance learning group is an independent alliance developing practical tactics for making progress in such situations in Africa. It recognises that the current international drive to combat illegal forestry could do more harm than good if social justice is not brought centre-stage. In Malawi and Mozambique sub-groups have recognised the real danger that communities will disengage from forest stewardship unless practical mechanisms for their ownership and responsibility are found. In Uganda a sub-group has used the space created by decentralisation and high-profile cases of timber trade corruption to develop improved systems. In Ghana, the work points to the potential powder keg created at community level by those involved in flouting the law and over-harvesting timber. A renegotiation amongst stakeholders through forest forums is being called for in bringing the major abusers to book.
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Keywords: Africa; forest governance; forests; learning group; social justice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Forestry and Land Use programme, International Institute for Environment and Development, Edinburgh, UK. 2: Faculdade de Agronomia e Engenharia Florestal, University of Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique. 3: National Forestry Authority, Kampala, Uganda. 4: Civic Response, Accra, Ghana. 5: Department of Forestry, Lilongwe, Malawi.

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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