Socio-political constraints to the enforcement of forest laws: a case study of chainsaw operations in Ghana

Mon, 05/30/2011 - 17:54

Forest law enforcement is difficult in weak nations like Ghana in the face of conflicting interests and competing claims to forest resources. One area of interest in Ghana is the enforcement of a ban on chainsaw operation. Since 1998, chainsaw milling is legally prohibited in Ghana. However, today, there is enormous evidence to show that the practice is on the increase, exploiting about 2.5 million cubic meters of trees annually and employing about 100,000 people. This high level of illegality presents a big challenge to implementation of Ghana’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EU) and also to Ghana’s REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)-plus agenda. The paper explores the socio-political constraints facing law enforcement agencies in enforcing the ban. It observes that high levels of rural unemployment, corruption among law enforcement agencies including the Forest Services Division (FSD) and the police, low political motivation and high elite influence in the forestry sector are some of the socio-political factors constraining effective enforcement. Notwithstanding, the practice seems to be well accepted and more than half of forestry officials at the operational level feel that the ban should be reviewed.

Responsible party
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana
Funding bodies
European Union
Attachment Size
forest_laws.pdf 1017.53 KB