IASC 2011 – Sustaining Commons: Sustaining our Future

The IFLEA project partners participate in the IASC conference Jan 10-14, 2011 in Hyderabad, India.




Institutions and Livelihoods in East African Forest Landscapes (IFLEA)

Project funded by a grant from Volkswagen Foundation, Oct.2008-Oct.2012


To strengthen research capacities, build a training network and improve understanding of the role institutions and institutional change play for natural resource management and livelihoods in East African forest landscapes.

Selected findings from the contributions for the IASC 2011 Conference

  •       African countries have the highest net losses of forest cover: 3.4 mill. ha/year (2000-2010).
  •       Decentralization reforms have been carried out in all countries of the region.
  •       Among the East African countries Uganda ranks highest in deforestation, followed by Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.
  •       For all countries and all types of participatory forest management, livelihood outcomes have been limited, except for community based forest management in Tanzania.
  •       Decentralization did not contribute to livelihood improvements and maintenance of forest cover in Uganda.
  •       The forest sector in East Africa confronts the challenge of implementing decentralization policies by sharing decision making powers and closely collaborating with local  communities. There is little experience with such forms of governance from the past.
  •       Strong forest governance institutions which would be required to face the challenge (of power sharing and collaboration) are weakened by various market and policy failures, like corruption, political patronage and a weak public service sector.
  •       Poverty and food insecurity are additional challenges in achieving sustainability in the forest sectors of East Africa, as many rural (but also urban) poor depend directly on forest products, e.g. firewood and charcoal.
  •       There is a lack of knowledge of the opportunities and strengths that different types of joint/collaborative/community based/participatory forest management can provide.
  •       Decentralization is too often not accompanied with investments in knowledge transfer, infrastructure development, strengthening of local institutions and human capital at subnational levels.
  •       The divergence between formal institutions and those shaping actual behavior (de facto) are a better explanation for forest loss in the region than the existence of forest policies and laws.
  •       Despite forest governance reforms inadequate funding, accountability deficiencies and pervasive incentives lead to a continued loss of forest cover (Uganda).
  •       Private or public property rights are not per se solutions to improve livelihoods and forest conditions. De facto rules and actual behavior have a more direct impact on forest conditions.
  •       Clarity and consensus on the roles and responsibilities under any property right regime as well as improved rule enforcement are important ingredients to achieve sustainable forest management
  •       The choice of an appropriate property right regime should not be driven by ideology but by a specific recognition of the historical, political, socio-cultural and ecological context.
  •       The value of forests for local users declines when their rights are not recognized. In order to regain rights to resources which are required to improve livelihoods and alleviate poverty, forests have been converted to agricultural land (Ethiopia).
  •       Forest institutions face the pressures from high demand for forest resources and land and lack of alternative income and energy sources. Unless local users are not also the beneficiaries of forest management, there is little incentive for them to sustain forest resources.

Learn more @ www.iflea.org

Partners and contributors:

  • Uganda Forestry Resources and Institutions Center (UFRIC), Makerere University, Kampala
  • Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania
  • Kenyan Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), Nairobi
  • International Forestry Resources and Institutions research program (IFRI), School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan


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