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«Dissertations Forestales 149 Forest law compliance in the High-Forest Zone of Ghana: an analysis of forest farmers’ livelihoods, their forest ...»

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Dissertations Forestales 149

Forest law compliance in the High-Forest Zone of

Ghana: an analysis of forest farmers’ livelihoods, their

forest values, and the factors affecting law compliance


Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen

School of Forest Sciences

Faculty of Science and Forestry

University of Eastern Finland

Academic dissertation

To be presented, with the permission of the Faculty of Science and Forestry of the

University of Eastern Finland, for public examination in room BOR 100, Borealis Building of the University of Eastern Finland, Yliopistokatu 7, Joensuu, on 28th September 2012, at 12 o’clock noon Title of dissertation: Forest law compliance in the High-Forest Zone of Ghana: an analysis of forest farmers’ livelihoods, their forest values, and the factors affecting law compliance behaviour Author: Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen Dissertationes Forestales 149

Thesis Supervisors:

Professor Olli Saastamoinen School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Finland Program Manager Ilpo Tikkanen European Forest Institute, Finland Professor Dr. Margaret Shannon Coordinator FOPER II – European Forest Institute and Associate Dean and Professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont


Prof. Dr, em. Franz Schmithuesen Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland Associate Professor Kojo Sebastian Amanor Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon


Dr. Anja Nygren Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland ISSN 1795-7389 ISBN 978-951-651-388-4 (PDF) (2012)


Finnish Society of Forest Science Finnish Forest Research Institute Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Helsinki School of Forest Sciences of the University of Eastern Finland

Editorial Office:

Finnish Society of Forest Science P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland http://www.metla.fi/dissertationes

Ramcilovic-Suominen, S. 2012. Forest law compliance in the High-Forest Zone of Ghana:

an analysis of forest farmers’ livelihoods, their forest values, and the factors affecting law

compliance behaviour. Dissertationes Forestales 142. 85 p. Available at:

http://www.metla.fi/dissertationes/df149.htm ABSTRACT Illegal forest activities are increasingly recognised as one of the major sources of deforestation and the degradation of the world’s tropical forests. International recognition of and response to the problem of illegal forest activities—most notably illegal logging— have significantly increased since the 1990s, with numerous international, regional and bilateral initiatives emerging across the globe. The international response to illegal forest activities is largely focussed on illegal logging (i.e., the harvesting of timber in violation of national laws) and the enforcement of forest regulations as the major strategy for addressing illegal forest activities and non-compliant behaviour.

This PhD thesis assesses the relationships between law enforcement and the livelihoods, individual motivations and contextual factors that inform compliance with forest rules. The research builds on a case study of the law compliance of forest farming communities inhabiting the fringes of forest reserves in the High-Forest Zone of Ghana. The study first explores the concept of forest communities’ livelihoods and the potential implications of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) for forest communities’ livelihoods (Article I). Second, it examines farmers’ forest values and the potential role of these values in farmers’ compliance with forest rules (Article II). Third, it explores the motivations and factors that influence farmers’ compliance with a number of formal or state forest rules (Article III). Finally, Article IV proposes an analytical framework for forest law compliance, outlining a set of factors and variables that affect compliance behaviour at the individual and group levels.

The study results are derived from an expert questionnaire survey concerning the forest communities’ livelihoods in the FLEGT VPA in Ghana and an interview survey with farmers in the High-Forest Zone of Ghana concerning farmers’ forest values and their compliance with a number of forest rules. The study results suggest that the implementation of the FLEGT VPA is likely to have both positive and negative impacts on forest communities’ livelihoods. Further, it suggests that farmers ascribe major importance to those forest values, which directly contribute to their livelihoods, including forests’ subsistence, environmental and economic values. Concerning law compliance, it is found that farmers’ compliance with forest rules is determined by a myriad of factors, including the perceived fairness and legitimacy of the rules and ruling authorities, social and cultural norms, fear of sanctions, and the need for resources for their livelihoods and for domestic use. Further, the study suggests that farmers’ forest values may, to some extent, influence their compliance with forest rules. Finally, based on the theories of rule compliance and available literature on the sources of non-compliance in forestry, the study identifies a set variables influencing compliance behaviour at the individual level (e.g., instrumental incentives, legitimacy and social and personal norms), and group or societal level (e.g., regulatory constraints, political capacity, corruption, property rights and markets).

Keywords: Ghana, forest communities, livelihoods, forest law compliance, forest governance


During my PhD work, I have had invaluable professional and personal support and encouragement from my family, friends, colleagues and professionals in the field. I would like to thank all of you for making this life experience a truly interesting and rewarding one for me.

I would first like to thank my supervisors, Prof. Olli Saastamoinen for his commitment, interest and support during my thesis and Ilpo Tikkanen for his professional guidance and responsibility, at the European Forest Institute (EFI). Prof. Margaret Shannon has been my continuous source of inspiration, and I want to thank her for her valuable professional and personal advice and encouragement during my thesis work. Next to my supervisors, I would like to thank Dr. Jukka Matero and Dr. Celste Lacuna-Richman for their advice on conducting social research, surveys, and data analysis. This PhD thesis would not have been possible without your support and advice.

Thanks also to Dr. Ari Pappinen and Dr. Mark Appiah for their interest in my research and for assisted my four-month stay and fieldwork in Ghana, as well as to Dr. Lawrence Damnyag, who assisted in data collection and was my host at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG). I also thank the patient respondents to the two surveys and the pre-examiners of this thesis.

The work for this thesis was conducted at the European Forest Institute’s Headquarters in Joensuu. I gratefully acknowledge the four-year financial support for this study provided by the Foundation for European Forest Research (FEFR) and kindly managed by Dr. Kalle Eerikäinen. I am also grateful for a grant received from the University of Eastern Finland (project: Forest Landscape Restoration in Ghana: A multidisciplinary approach; grant number 14812) for carrying out my fieldwork in Ghana.

Equally relevant for the complete picture of this thesis is the genuine support of many colleagues and friends. Various discussions and questions on the progress of my research have all contributed towards the successful conclusion of this thesis. I would especially like to thank Gert-Jan Nabuurs, David Gritten, Robert Mavsar, Jo van Brusselen, Tim Green, Minna Korhonen, Blas Mola and Tomi Tuomasjukka for their interest and discussions at different stages of the research. Risto Paivinen, Director of EFI, is heartily thanked for his support and trust in my work, and especially for providing a safety net (on the last-minute request) for finalising my fieldwork in Ghana. Thanks are extended to all EFI colleagues for numerous coffee breaks and laughs shared with me at the EFI kitchen table. The list of friends whom I wish to thank for making these four years easier and more fun is inexhaustible; some of them include Marta Choroszewicz, Katja and Martin Gunia, Hans and Niina Verkerk, Satu Sivonen, Elena Gorriz, Emi Pesonen, Diana Vötter, Jerker Brolen.

At last, I want to thank my family in Macedonia and those in Austria and Finland— thank you for your constant support and occasional reminders that graduating sooner is better than later. My most sincere thanks and love is for the dearest ones—my beloved mother and father for their understanding and support in whatever I choose to do with my life, and for my dear husband Tommi. Tommi—words are limited, but the reasons for which I feel so lucky and grateful to have you in my life are limitless.

Joensuu, June 2012 Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen


This thesis is a summary of the following articles, which are referred to in the text by their Roman numerals I-IV. The articles are reprinted with the kind permission of the publishers.

I Ramcilovic-Suominen, S. Gritten, D., Saastamoinen, O. 2010. Concept of livelihoods in the FLEGT voluntary partnership agreement and the expected impacts on the livelihood of forest communities in Ghana. International Forestry Review.

Vol.12(4):361-369. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1505/ifor.12.4.361 II Ramcilovic-Suominen, S., Matero, J., Shannon, M. 2012. Do Forest Values Influence Compliance with Forestry Legislation? The Case of Farmers in the Fringes of Forest Reserves in Ghana. Small-scale Forestry, 2012. doi: 10.1007/s11842-012-9209-z.

III Ramcilovic-Suominen, S., Hansen, C. Why some forest rules are obeyed and others violated: instrumental and normative perspective of forest law compliance in Ghana.

Forest Policy and Economics (2012), doi:10.1016/j.forpol.2012.07.002.

IV Ramcilovic-Suominen, S., Epstein, G. Towards an analytical framework for forest law

compliance. International Forestry Review Vol.14(3):326-336. doi:


The author’s contribution:

Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen has the main responsibility for the work done in the four articles. The co-authors contributed by commenting on the respective manuscripts. In addition, Dr. Jukka Matero assisted in data analysis for the article II, and Graham Epstein provided a significant input with regards to institutional theory, for the article IV.








1.1 Linking governance, the rule of law, and individual law compliance......... 9

1.2 Illegal logging: definition, extent and impacts

1.3 Illegal logging as an international policy issue, forest law enforcement and the EU FLEGT Action Plan

1.4 Beyond illegal logging, legality, and law enforcement: legal pluralism and barriers to legality

1.5 Aims of the Study


2.1 Sustainable livelihood framework, the theory of access, and the bundle of rights and powers

2.2 Forest values and influence of values on behaviour

2.3 Theoretical perspectives of compliance and models of rule compliance... 17 2.3.1 The instrumental model of compliance behaviour

2.3.2 Institutional and norm-oriented model of compliance behaviour... 18 2.3.3 The concept of legitimacy and its role in rule compliance behaviour


3.1 Forest law enforcement, livelihoods and poverty alleviation (Article I)... 21

3.2 Forest governance and farmers’ rights to trees and forest in Ghana (Article II, III)

3.3 Legal framework of studied forest rules (Article II, III)

3.3.1 The tree-felling rule

3.3.2 The farming rule

3.3.3 The bushfire prevention rule

3.4 Sources of non-compliance in forestry (Article III and IV)


4.1 Thesis framework

4.2 Research design

4.2.1 Data collection and fieldwork

4.2.2 Study area (Article II and III)

4.3. Materials and methods adopted in specific Articles

4.3.1 Materials and methods in Article I

4.3.2 Materials and methods in Articles II and III

4.3.3 Materials and methods in Article IV


5.1 Concept of livelihoods and the expected impacts of the FLEGT VPA on forest communities’ livelihoods in Ghana (Article I)

5.1.1 Concept of livelihoods in the EU-Ghana FLEGT VPA

5.1.2 Potential impacts of the VPA implementation: who will be affected and how

5.2 Understanding the meaning and context of farmers’ forest values (Article II) 32 5.2.1 What farmers value about the forest

5.2.2 Why farmers perceive forest values as important/unimportant.......34 5.2.3 Compliance with the tree-felling rule and relationships between values and compliance behaviour

5.3 Compliance levels and factors affecting compliance behaviour (Article III) 5.3.1 Farmers’ compliance with formal forest rules in Ghana.................35 5.3.2 Factors influencing forest law compliance behaviour in general....36 5.3.3 Factors influencing compliance with the tree-felling, farming and bushfire-prevention

5.4 Towards an analytical framework for forest rule compliance (Article IV) 38 5.4.1 The proposed analytical framework


6.1 Discussion of results

6.2 Policy implications

6.3 Methodological and conceptual limitations of the study

6.4 Final remarks and future research




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