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Justice in the Forests: Ghana - Trees in Local Hands| 17mins
Director: Dominic Elliot | Producer: IIED & Dominic Elliot
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: United Kingdom
Subject Tags: africa, conflict, ghana, resources
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
The film explains how for almost a century, the timber business has been dominated by large companies, who have been given concessions by the state. The failure of this system to allow local people to gain substantial benefits from the forest, has led to a proliferation of unauthorized chainsaw operators, who now account for the majority of trees felled in Ghana. And in response to this situation, many local people have decided to extract timber for their own benefits, regardless of a law that forbids it. Attempts to enforce the law have failed - often with loss of life and limb in the process. But some communities and chainsaw operators recognize the problems and are taking matters into their own hands. Some have formed the Domestic Lumber Trade Association, to press for legalization and regulation. With the NGO coalition ForestWatch Ghana and the government’s Forestry Commission, the Forest Governance Learning Group is working to abandon the pretence that the state can control timber trees on farmers’ lands and to explore better deals for local control of forestry. The film series "Justice in the Forests" explores the question: who gets to decide about forests? With deforestation causing such havoc for biodiversity, the climate and the livelihoods of millions of forest-dependent people around the world, it is an important question. The Forest Governance Learning Group is a network of teams in ten countries in Africa and Asia who grapple with this question and believe that solutions to forestry problems lie in increasing the power of local people over forest decisions. These films show how small teams can have a big impact in tackling forest governance.

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