Justice in the forests: Ghana
Trees in local hands details how the FGLG team in Ghana are working on practical ways of securing local decision-making to address the issue of chainsaw lumbering.
The film explains how for almost a century the timber business has been dominated by large companies, who have been given concessions by the state. The failure of this system to allow local people to gain substantial benefits from the forest, has led to a proliferation of unauthorised chainsaw operators, who now account for the majority of trees felled in Ghana. And in response to this situation, many local people have decided to extract timber for their own benefits, regardless of a law which forbids it.
Attempts to enforce the law have failed – often with loss of life and limb in the process.
But some communities and chainsaw operators recognise the problems and are taking matters into their own hands. Some have formed the Domestic Lumber Trade Association, to press for legalisation and regulation.
With the NGO coalition ForestWatch Ghana and the government’s Forestry Commission, the Forest Governance Learning Group is working to abandon the pretence that the state can control timber trees on farmers’ lands and to explore better deals for local control of forestry.