9.05.09 - African Forest Politics and Governance
Symphorien Ongolo, Germany
Paxie Wanangwa Chirwa, South Africa
Ameni Hasnaoui, Germany
Judith Kamoto, Malawi
Denis Jean Sonwa, Cameroon
African forests from the North Africa Mediterranean region to the southern, eastern, western and central African regions face growing pressure due to multiple and complex factors including forestland conversion, biodiversity loss, livelihood issues, demographic growth, wildfires, above- and underground resources exploitation.
The following thematic areas relevant to understand the present and future of African forest policies and politics are covered by the Working Party 9.05.09:
- transnational and decentralized forest governance including regional forest regimes and community forestry;
- market-based instruments including forest certification and payment for environmental services – PES;
- forest and climate change;
- international forest governance initiatives such as FLEGT and REDD+;
- natural and biodiversity conservation policies;
- non-timber forest products;
- forest concessions;
- ecotourism and forest recreation;
- urban and peri-urban forestry.
In the frame of the overall mission of IUFRO, the unit 9.05.09 aims to advance cutting edge knowledge on formal and informal processes of forest-related policies and politics in Africa. In this regard, we promote inter-disciplinary social sciences research providing original and innovative scientific knowledge on the emergence and evolution of African forest-related policies and politics. From operational perspective, the unit 09.05.09 promotes strong scientific networks and initiatives (conferences, summer schools, seminars…etc.) on/in Africa related to the above thematic focus. Further, it promotes scientific partnership and collaborations among African researchers from different regions of the continent and non-African researchers and institutions; encourages science-policy interactions.
State of Knowledge
The African forest is paradoxical in relation to the tropical forest regions. When the rate of forest degradation due to wood-fuel demand and slash-and-burn small farming rises, the level of deforestation falls below that of South Asia and Latin America. In other words, the utilisation of African forestland resources occurs faster in regions covered by dry and accessible forests while the majority of the rainforests in the Congo basin remains broadly intact. Up to now, African forests from the North Africa Mediterranean region to the southern, eastern, western and central African regions face growing pressure due to forestland conversion, biodiversity loss, livelihood issues, demographic growth, wildfires, above- and underground resources exploitation.
The IUFRO units under the Division 9 (forest policy and economics) have been working on a set of forest policy and politics research thematic in the majority of global south. However, the forest social science research in Africa remained weakly analysed. One of the originalities and substantial contributions of the new unit "African Forest Politics and Governance" will be to fill the huge gap of knowledge on forest social science research in Africa within the Division 9.