Indufor was contracted by the Liberia Forest Development Authority (FDA) to carry out an assignment under the Liberia Forest Sectcor Project (LFSP) called “Coordination and Management of Livelihood Activity Support to Forest-Dependent Communities”. The LFSP is a comprehensive undertaking to support the country’s fight against deforestation and forest degradation while increasing the benefits to forest-adjacent communities from managing the forests in a sustainable manner. The LFSP, financed through the World Bank, is aligned to the REDD+ efforts and continues the forest sector reform.
The assignment covered 31 communities that are given the authority to manage their forests. Our target communities were located in the North West and South East Priority Landscapes of the country and included more than 300 villages with around 350 000 inhabitants. Indufor carried out this assignment in partnership with our local partner, Liberia Agency for Research and Sustainable Development.
Liberia has 4.5 million hectares of lowland tropical forests—one of the largest continuous forest blocks that remain in West Africa. Liberia’s forests are also widely recognized as a global hotspot of diversity, boasting flora and fauna which are both rare and at risk. Liberia plans to conserve 30% or more of its forests as protected areas, with the remainder to be used for sustainable forest management and community forestry. Photo: Thomas Selänniemi.
The main outcome of Indufor’s engagement was the Community Livelihood Plans for income generation around sustainable community forestry and agriculture. The plans outlined the livelihoods to be strengthened and the support interventions to be undertaken through the FDA.
Our field team on the way to community meetings in Cape Mount County in Northern Liberia. The road network is poor and the most appropriate mode of transportation is motorbikes. Photo: Thomas Selänniemi.
We carried out the livelihoods planning as a participatory process where we involved representatives from all communities. We worked closely with the FDA and its Community Forest Department, profiting from their experience and information from the community forestry establishment process. We also engaged with civil society organisations and other interventions around forestry and conservation for information sharing and feedback, e.g. the Community Forestry Management Board, the Society for Conservation of Nature in Liberia, Universal Outreach Foundation, Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and the USAID funded Forest Incomes for Environmental Sustainability (FIFES) programme, to mention a few.
In the Focus Group Discussions, our field teams are taking a gender-sensitive approach and talking separately with women to ensure that their opinions are voiced in discussions on the livelihoods. Photo: Thomas Selänniemi
After the community meetings, we carried out the data analysis on community livelihood priorities and assets, as well as infrastructure challenges and market realities, which are all key information for the development of the livelihood plans for 31 communities. The next step will be for the FDA to roll out support interventions as outlined in the livelihood plans.
Palm oil is already produced and sold by many households in Liberia. Palm oil is widely consumed as an additive to many Liberian dishes and sold by retail in small towns, urban markets and supermarkets. With adequate land use planning and management, palm oil has the potential to become an important livelihood option for the target communities contributing to income generation and reducing pressure on the indigenous forests. Photo: Thomas Selänniemi
For further information, please contact Thomas Selänniemi.