The New Scope: Forest Policy, Indigenous Involvement and Welfare Considerations. The case of Kyirayaso in the Ashanti Region of Ghana
AuthorDarku, Philomena Kafui
This study examines the Forest and Wildlife Policy of Ghana, how it involves the indigenous people of Kyirayaso in the management process of the forest reserve from which they derive their livelihood and how the forest policy takes into consideration the welfare of the people. The objective is to gain insight into the practicalities of managing the reserve based on the stories, views and reflections of the Kyirayaso community who are “used” as a case study. It is also to ascertain the impact of the management process on the welfare of the people. In this regard, the study draws on the mixed method approach, with eight interviews of government and forestry commission officials and 30 open-ended questionnaires of Kyirayaso community members. Selected aspects of co-management theory constitute an analytical framework for highlighting the components of the management process and for reviewing the survival strategies and the overall welfare of the community. The study points out that; Kyirayaso community members are practically involved in co-managing the forest reserve but they are not assured possibilities of influencing decisions. They are involved more at the implementation stage than in prior planning stages and the nature of management process is more “consultative” than “two-way” communication (active participation). The difference in the extent of involvement is attributed to general education levels of community members due to the technicality of forestry issues. I also discovered that welfare has a non-monetary meaning and significance in Kyirayaso. And while revenue that comes to the community does not trickle down to everyone, there is still good-will and a communal spirit among community members to manage and protect the forest reserve for future generations as well as leave a lasting legacy. The study brings to bare results of co-management strategies put to analysis and it is proposed that for effective and sustainable management of the forest and proper welfare provision of the community members who devote their lives to protect the reserve, a bottom-up approach needs to be adopted to refocus policy directions and strategies. Technical education should be implemented, to circumvent the inability of primary stakeholders from partaking in decision-making processes that affect their very existence.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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