World Series Vol. 23 – Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge and Sustainable Forest Management in Africa
Traditional knowledge and practices have sustained the livelihoods, cultures and the forest and agricultural resources of local and indigenous communities throughout Africa for millennia. This knowledge is tightly interwoven with traditional religious beliefs, customs, folklore, land-use practices and community-level decision-making processes, and have historically been dynamic, responding to changing environmental, social, economic and political conditions to ensure that forest resources continue to provide tangible (foods, medicines, wood and other non-timber forest products, water and fertile soils) and intangible (spiritual, social and psychological health) benefits for present and future generations.
Despite their importance and contributions to sustainable rural livelihoods, traditional forest-related knowledge and practices are under pressure in most African countries (as elsewhere in the world) for a number of reasons. These include imbalanced power relations between State forest management authorities and local and indigenous communities whose traditional governance systems and customary laws are often at odds with those of the State; the erosion of traditional knowledge and practices, government policies and regulations within and outside of the forest sector restricting access and traditional use of forest resources, and a general erosion of traditional culture and of traditional land and forest management knowledge and practices, and declining interest in traditional wisdom, knowledge, and lifestyles among younger generations. The negative implications of this loss of TFK on livelihoods, cultural and biological diversity, and the capacity of forested landscapes to provide environmental goods and services remain poorly understood, largely unappreciated, and undervalued by policy-makers and the general public in most countries.
Recommended catalogue entry:
Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge and Sustainable Forest Management in Africa. Papers from the conference held in Accra, Ghana, from 15-17 October 2008, jointly organized by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Task Force on Traditional Forest Knowledge, the IUFRO Special Programme for Developing Countries (IUFRO-SPDC), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of Ghana (CSIR). John A. Parrotta, Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Joseph Cobbinah (editors). Accra, IUFRO, 2009 - 213 p. - (IUFRO World Series Vol. 23).
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