Forest voices

Insights from journalists on the ground

Illegal mining threatens biodiversity in Ghana’s forest reserves

Some members of the task force inspecting the destruction caused by galamsey activities. Credit: Mary Ama Kudom-Agyemang

This edition of Forest Voices takes at how the threat of illegal gold-mining is affecting Ghana's Forest Reserves and what steps are being taken to protect the forests.

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Locally controlled forestry in Nepal – needed now more than ever

Timber piled up in Sundari Community Forest of Amarapuri Village Development Committee of Nawalparasi. © ForestAction Nepal

This edition of Forest Voices takes a look back over the history of community forestry in Nepal throughout the recent turbulent decades and draws conclusions which could help to influence the future of the country's forestry sector.

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What difference has thirty years made to forest governance in Ghana?

Forest destruction from 'galamsey' informal gold-mining on Atewa Range forest reserve, Ghana. Photo: Eastern Region Forestry Commission Office, 2011

Ghana’s forestry sector has contributed significantly to socio-economic development over the past thirty years by employing thousands of people and generating about six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, forest governance – characterised by stakeholder participation, accountability and legality – remains weak and is consequently an obstacle to sustainable forest management efforts.

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Economic potential of Guatemala’s non-timber forest products

Chicle gum ready for exportation © ACOFOP, Guatemala.

Seeds from the breadnut fruit, leaves from the xate ornamental palm and chicle (a natural gum) are just some of the products harvested by members of Guatemala’s National Alliance of Community Forest Organizations (the ‘Alianza’) as an economic forest management alternative to the timber trade.

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From semi-slavery to parliament — one woman’s fight for both forests and landless communities

Shanta Chaudhary at inauguration of information center in Nepal's Rasuwa district where the Langtang National park lies. Photo: Ramesh Prasad Bhushal, 2010.

Until 2006, Shanta Chaudhary was a bonded labourer who had never attended school. But today this accidental politician chairs Nepal’s parliamentary committee on Natural Resources and Means and is responsible for government policy on land, water, forests and the environment.

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PINPEP law offers incentives to smallholders for sustainable forestry

Newly elected members of the PINPEP Directive Council with forestry community representatives, July 2011. Photo © Antonio Ordoñez

Following lobbying by community forestry groups, the Guatemalan Congress passed a much-needed law in November 2010, which formalised the Forest Smallholders Incentives Program. This programme offers smallholders the opportunity to exploit their land in a sustainable way, even if they do not have legal registration of ownership.

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Growing Forest Partnerships in Ghana: a catalytic process or an unnecessary scheme?

Growing Forest Partnerships (GFP) is a forest sector initiative that has been embraced by a wide range of stakeholders in Ghana, particularly at the policymaking level. These stakeholders include staff of the Forestry Commission, members of community-based organisations and forest fringe communities.

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Controversy continues over Gaurishankar conservation area

Gaurishankar conservation area announced at cabinet meeting on Mount Everest in 2009. © Ramesh Prasad Bhushal

Two years ago, while the world was busy preparing for the Copenhagen climate change summit (COP15), the government of Nepal held a cabinet meeting 5,400 metres above sea level at Kalapatthar — the base camp of Mount Everest. Two years on, the cabinet meeting is only a distant memory for many, but one of the decisions announced at the top is now the cause of much controversy in the country.

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