«Dissertations Forestales 149 Forest law compliance in the High-Forest Zone of Ghana: an analysis of forest farmers’ livelihoods, their forest ...»
Addressing such a problem requires insights into some fundamental issues that go beyond the discourse of legality and law enforcement. Some of these issues raise the question: why is there non-compliance and illegal logging in the first place, which in turn requires the enforcement of enacted laws? What are the motivations and reasons urging the actors to disobey the authorities and their decisions, rules and laws? Is it only economic and monetary interests that drive illegal forest behaviour, or do other factors such as social norms, values and the legitimacy of the governing authorities play a role as well? Such questions are important for constructing effective policies and laws that can be implemented with a minimum of effort and cost (Tyler 1990, May 2005, Murphy 2005);
thus, their answers should not be assumed and taken for granted in the forest policy instruments addressing illegal logging.
To provide some examples of the complexity of the issues surrounding timber legality, it is worth mentioning the concepts of legal pluralism and barriers to legality—two challenges to legality common for most tropical timber-producing countries. The concept of legal pluralism is generally defined as the coexistence of two or more legal systems applicable in the same social field and the same situation (Griffith 1986, Larson et al.
2010). The concept primarily deals with the nature and origin of rules, distinguishing between state vs. traditional or indigenous authorities and rules. Prior to colonial rule, in many societies such as those in the African continent, the indigenous population maintained social order using a rich variety of instruments including social pressure, custom, customary law and judicial procedures (Merry 1988). The colonisation of these societies and imposition of European law resulted in modifications of the existing indigenous legal systems, the integration of the two systems, or in some cases—such as in Ghana—the parallel existence of the two systems (Merry 1988, Larbi 2006, Larson and Ribot 2007). As indigenous governance institutions and rules are generally unwritten, including them in the formal definitions of timber legality, which is based on written statutory laws, is a challenge. Omitting them, on the other hand, is likely to cause dissatisfaction, resistance and non-compliance with formal rules and laws (Scott 1985, Peluso 1992, Larson and Ribot 2007).
Barriers to legality is a wider concept that, in addition to the legal inconsistency of the existing rules, involves inconsistencies of rules with the common practices, socio-economic conditions and capacities at the local level (Contreras-Hermosilla 2003, Richards et al.
2003, Wells et al. 2007). A clear example of barriers to legality is the chainsaw ban in Ghana. The ban criminalises the use of chainsaws for harvesting, transporting, and marketing lumber for commercial purposes (TRMA 1997/Act 547, TRMR 1998/L.I 1649).
In response, the regulation proposes that all sawmills supply 20% of their lumber production to the domestic market. However, 20% of the total wood production from sawmills is estimated to be approximately 200 000 m3, whereas the domestic timber demand in Ghana is estimated to be between 1 and 3 million m3 (Marfo and Azu 2009, Hansen and Treue 2008). In addition, chainsaw operations support the rural economy by supplying lumber, employment and direct income, employing “...nearly the same amount of people as the formal timber industry” (Adam et al. 2007, Marfo and Acheampong 2009, Darko-Obiri and Damnyag 2011). Thus, despite the chainsaw ban, chainsaw lumbering continues to respond to the domestic demand for timber and has further increased after the inaction of the regulation (Adam et al. 2007, Darko-Obiri and Damnyag 2009). These two examples indicate that the problem of illegality in forestry requires more appropriate and fitting solutions than a strict enforcement of the existing, often unrealistic, laws.
1.5 Aims of the Study
This research has two primary objectives: first, to explore the concept of livelihoods and the implications of forest law enforcement under the FLEGT VPA in Ghana, and second, to explore and understand the factors that determine farmers’ compliance with the existing forest rules in Ghana. The research focuses on the law compliance behaviour of forest farming communities inhabiting the fringes of the forest reserves in the High-forest Zone of Ghana.
Forest communities’ dependence on forests for their livelihoods, poverty, agricultural expansion and traditional land use practices such as slash-and-burn agriculture, shifting cultivation and cattle ranching are often quoted among the primary drivers of deforestation, forest loss and degradation of the tropical forest in developing countries (FRA 1993, Appiah et al. 2009), as well as a source of forest illegalities (World Bank 2006). Ghana forms an interesting case due to the high rate of illegal forest activities and non-compliance (Hansen and Treue 2008) on the one hand and its ongoing efforts to combat illegality and strengthen forest law enforcement by engaging in the EU FLEGT Action Plan (EC 2003,
2005) on the other.
Within this context, this study aims to:
- To explore the concept of livelihoods in the EU FLEGT VPA in Ghana and to assess the potential impacts of the VPA implementation on the livelihoods of forest communities (Article I)
- To explore the reasons why forest farmers value the forest and to assess the potential role of farmers’ forest values in their compliance with a regulation on tree felling (Article II).
- To explore the reasons and factors that influence farmers’ compliance with the three formal forest rules—regulations on felling trees, farming, and the regulation of bushfires (Article III).
- To integrate theories of rule compliance with the research on compliance in forestry, in order to propose an analytical framework for forest law compliance (Article IV).
2.1 Sustainable livelihood framework, the theory of access, and the bundle of rights and powers Since the 1990s the international agenda on poverty reduction has significantly increased (UN 1992, UN 2000); and so has the importance and acceptance of sustainable livelihood approaches, as tools for designing of development interventions and assessment of their impacts (Alterelli and Carloni 2000, Brocklesby and Fisher 2003). Sustainable livelihood approaches go beyond the traditional definition and notion of poverty and livelihoods to emphasise the non-monetary aspects, such as vulnerability, seasonality, shocks, change and buffers (Chambers and Conway 1992). Although numerous definitions on livelihoods have been used, these definitions mostly build on a common notion that a livelihood comprises capacities, assets and activities required for a living (Chambers and Conway 1992:6). A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base (Scoones 1998:5).
Sustainable livelihood (SL) framework developed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) has largely influenced the SL approaches and frameworks developed by other organisations, such as CARE International or UNDP (Brocklesby and Fisher 2003). We use the DFID’s SL framework as the model of SL in this research. The SL framework is an analytical tool within the sustainable livelihood approaches, designed to direct interventions and assess livelihood impacts (DFID 2001).
The SL framework consists of five elements (DFID 2002). First, the livelihood assets, including natural (e.g. natural resource stocks), social (e.g. social networks and relationships of trust), human (e.g. skills, knowledge), financial (e.g. savings, income) and physical assets (e.g. infrastructure, transport). Second, the vulnerability context, including shocks (e.g. floods, storms, civil or natural resource conflicts), trends (i.e. more predictable events, such as availability of food stocks), and seasonal shifts in prices, employment or food availability. Third element is the livelihood strategies, i.e. combination of activities and choices that people make, in order to achieve positive livelihood outcomes (e.g.
increased wellbeing, food stocks or income). Finally, transforming structures and processes (also known as policies, institutions and processes) is an element, which in the SL framework is broadly defined to include laws, policies, institutions, cultures, levels of governance and private sector (Carney 1998, DFID 2002). Policies, institutions and processes are held to shape peoples’ access to livelihood assets (Thomson 2000, DFID 2002). In summary, according to the SL framework, availability of natural, human, physical, social and financial assets, within the given vulnerability and political contexts will define the quality of livelihoods.
While the SLF is widely used and well-established methodology, some potential inconsistencies with other literature in this field should be acknowledged. One such an inconsistency concerns definition of access. The SL framework defines access to resources as people’s right, stated within certain policy and legal framework (Thomson 2000);
acknowledging therefore the de-jure or the legal aspects of gaining access to assets and resources. Defining access only in terms of legal rights has been criticised by Ribot (1998) and later on, by Ribot and Peluso (2003), who argue that access transcends the de-jure, or the legal framework. Ribot (1998:310) defines access as “the ability of people to make use of (benefits, assets or resources)”; while rights are “acknowledged – formal or informal – claims that society approve of (e.g. laws, customs or conventions)”. Rights are only one of the ranges of mechanisms used to gain access to resources. Access to resources, or the ability of people to make use of these, is not only gained through legal rights, but through a wider range of mechanisms and processes that depends on the existing practices, social identities and relations (Ribot 1998). The bundle of these mechanisms is also described as a bundle of powers. Following the theory of access, in some cases, the bundle of rights is futile without the bundle of powers. The bundle of powers is defined by the established state and non-state rules (e.g. laws, norms, conventions), but also by the whole range of non-rule based structures, mechanisms and processes (e.g. values, social interactions, social relations) (Ghani 1995, Peluso 1992). The bundle of powers includes the ability to obtain, maintain and control one’s own access and the access of other players.
2.2 Forest values and influence of values on behaviour
In sociology, values are regarded as social phenomena and factors explaining human action (Karppinen 2000). This broad understanding of value is adopted in the thesis; with a general distinction between held and assigned values. Held value is a concept more typically used in the field of psychology, which portrays value as a part of personality (Rokeach 1972, 1973). Held value is understood as an ideal, a conception that subjects (an individual or group) hold towards objects (e.g. forest, nature). Assigned value, on the other hand, is more commonly used in the field of economics and refers to the value or worth of a specific object (Bengston 1994). It denotes a relative importance that the subjects assign to objects (for instance, the importance that the communities assign to the forest or the watershed). Following Brown (1984) held and assigned values are linked in the relational realm of value, which is concerned with the valuation process; in other words people apply their basic values to the task of valuing objects. This valuation process can be driven by an individual preference (Brown 1984), social obligations and norms, or functions or usefulness of the object (Andrews and Waits 1978).
Literature on values in forestry largely builds on the Rokeach’s universal value theory (e.g. Bengston 1994, Vaske et al. 2001, Ford et al 2009). Rokeach (1973:5) defines a value as: ‘an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct is personally and socially preferable to an opposite mode of conduct or an end-state of existence”; wherein value is an ideal or held value. Following Rokeach’s definition, held forest values have been defined as relatively enduring and fundamental concepts of the good related to forest and forest ecosystems; whereas assigned value is defined as relative importance of objects related to forest and forest ecosystems (Bengston 1994).
People’s held and assigned values can be used as predictors of their behaviour in specific situations (Ajzen 1991, Karppinen 1998, Vaske and Donnely 1999, Brown and Reed 2000, Vaske et al. 2001). There are, however, various theoretical and empirical assumptions concerning the way in which values influence behaviour, as well as the extent and conditions where values explain behaviours. The value-belief-norm theory (Stern et al.
1995, Stern 2000) suggests that basic values provide foundation for higher orders of cognition, such as attitudes and behaviour. This proposition is closely related to the cognitive hierarchy model outlined and tested, among others, by McFarlane and Boxal (1999) and Vaske and Donnely (1999). The theory’s central proposition is that values are basic and fundamental traits of personality, which influence higher orders of cognition – such as basic beliefs, attitudes and norms – which in turn influence specific behaviours (i.e.
behaviours in specific situations). On the other hand, the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen 1991) emphasises the role of more immediate ‘behaviour-specific factors’. The proposition is that values influence specific behaviours, by influencing some of the factors that are more closely linked to the behaviour in question (Ajzen and Fishbein 1980, Ajzen 1991). Common for these two theories is the assumption that values influence specific behaviours indirectly, through higher order of cognition (attitudes, beliefs), or by influencing other more immediate factors surrounding the specific behaviour (e.g. specific motivations and intentions).