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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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5.2.2 Why farmers perceive forest values as important/unimportant The right to and the need for livelihood support and subsistence is one of the primary reasons why farmers perceive certain forest values—environmental, subsistence, economic and future values—as most important. In the case of environmental and subsistence values, 77% and 90% of the given reasons for perceiving the respective forest values as the most important were related to livelihood support and subsistence (e.g., rainfall for farming, animals as food, soil fertility, food provision and security, health, farming land). Livelihood support and subsistence in terms of environmental forest values was communicated by most of the farmers as follows: “we need rainfall for farming and food” or “...our life depends on natural resources”. Concerning the importance of subsistence forest values, most of the farmers highlighted the need for survival, strength and the maintenance of their social duties (i.e., expectations to support other family/community members in need): “forest sustains our lives and gives us strength to fight the life-calamities” “...I have to provide food to my children, and help my other brothers and family in need”. In the case of economic and future forest values, 40% and 44%, respectively, of the farmers’ reasons for the importance of these values relate to their contributions to livelihood support (e.g., timber for shelter, community and family support, medicinal plants, livelihoods for future generations).

Farmers rank the aesthetic forest values as the least important becauseas noted by respondents in Ghana, it is not common to appreciate the forest’s beauty (68% of farmers’ reasons), and because,as respondents noted: “one does not live from beauty”, and “you can’t eat what you see” (22% of farmers’ reasons). The religion-related forest value in the questionnaire was defined in the context of traditional African religions (“I value the forest because it is a place to worship God and the nature...”). The given reasons for the low importance of this value appear to be related to a relatively recent decline of traditional African beliefs and a shift to Christianity; 72% explained that “God prohibits worshiping of natural objects”, or ”forest is not a place to worship God”, and “it used to be our customs, but nowadays only some chiefs respect this tradition”. It should be further noted that 9% of the given reasons for the low importance of religion-related forest values were associated with the discouragement of worship in the forest (e.g., “it is prohibited by authorities to worship in forest”, “no forestland is allocated for religious/spiritual use”).

5.2.3 Compliance with the tree-felling rule and relationships between values and compliance behaviour In total, 68% of the respondents reported that they would not comply with the tree-felling rule (45% of which would absolutely not comply and 23% would not comply only in difficult situation, e.g., if they needed the resources for survival). The multivariate regression model suggests some relationships between farmers’ compliance behaviour and their ranking of the importance of forest values. Respondents who ascribe a high importance to economic, learning and religion-related forest values are more likely to comply with the tree-felling rule compared to those who ascribe less importance to these values. No association was found between compliance and some important forest values, such as subsistence, environmental and future forest values.

5.3 Compliance levels and factors affecting compliance behaviour (Article III)

Article III assessed farmers’ level of compliance and motivations for compliance/noncompliance with forest rules. The levels of compliance with forest rules in general and with three specific forest rules in particular were assessed, namely the ban on felling trees without a permit (tree-felling rule), the ban on farming in forestry reserves (farming rule) and the obligation to follow guidelines for the prevention and management of bushfires (bushfire prevention rule). Of the 226 respondents, 99% reported that they were aware of the existence and meaning of the three studied forest rules.

5.3.1 Farmers’ compliance with formal forest rules in Ghana

It should be noted that based on the assumption that self-reported non-compliance tends to be lower than the true noncompliance rate (Tyler 1990, Kaene et al. 2008), two original categories, “absolute non-compliance” and “non-compliance in difficult situations”, were treated as equal and are referred to in general as “non-compliance”.

Of the three studied rules, the highest level of non-compliance is observed for the treefelling rule. Concerning the tree-felling rule, in total, 68% of the respondents reported that they would break the rule. The majority of respondents believed that other community members do break the rule (83%) and approved when this happens (62%). In the case of the farming rule, a total of 10% of the respondents reported that they would break the rule; 42% believed that other community members break the rule; and 31% approved when this happens. Finally, 13% of respondents reported that they would break the bushfire prevention rule; 55% believed that their peers do not comply with rules; and 21% approved of their peers when this happens.

Table 3. Compliance with forest rules.

Percentage of respondents (N=226)

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In addition, it is important to note that social norms were found to play an important role in farmers’ interpretation of and de facto compliance with rules. Although these norms were not surveyed in detail, it was observed that the level of compliance and social approval for the non-compliance of peers largely depended on the following: (i) the purpose of the action (e.g., domestic vs. commercial use of resource); (ii) socio-economic and demographic status of the actor (e.g., indigenous to community vs. migrant; landowner vs.

land renters; poor vs. better-off); (iii) the location of the trees (e.g., trees growing on one’s own farm vs. threes outside of the self-owned farmland); and (iv) the season of the year (rainy vs. dry season). For example, non-compliance is more likely to occur and more likely to be approved of by peers if the resource is needed for domestic use (e.g., for food or lumber for shelter), if the harvesting of trees is done on a farmer’s own farmland, if there is no alternative way to obtain the needed resource (e.g., no farming land, no legal permit scheme to apply for the felling of trees), and if there are traditional practices in place to follow (e.g., traditional fire management practices). However, non-compliance in the opposite cases (e.g., for commercial purposes, felling trees outside one’s own farmland) is met with strict disapproval and social sanctions.

5.3.2 Factors influencing forest law compliance behaviour in general

Factors leading to farmers’ compliance with forest rules include inducements or positive incentives for compliance (e.g., financial and non-financial compensation or rewards), fear of sanctions, social and religious-based norms (e.g., the law corresponds to the traditional/religious leaders’ teachings and values), the legitimacy of the decision-making process (e.g., participation and deliberation in decision-making processes) and the legitimacy of outcomes (e.g., the management, ownership or use rights to the forest). In each of these cases, at least 90% of respondents reported that they would comply with rules.

The most significant factors leading to non-compliance with forest rules in Ghana include the violation of the norm of fairness, tradition/culture (e.g., the law contradicts ancestral teachings and values), religion (e.g., the law contradicts religious beliefs and practices) and a general lack of perceived legitimacy (perception that the authorities are irresponsible and illegitimate). In each of these cases, at least 44% of respondents reported non-compliance with rules. On the other hand, financial gain (e.g., breaking the rule to improve the actor’s financial income) and a lack of sanctions (i.e., the presumption that there are no law enforcement agencies) were reported by only 26% and 19% of respondents as reasons for breaking the laws, respectively.

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The perceived fairness of rules is identified as the major factor explaining the higher levels of compliance with the farming and bushfire prevention rules, mentioned by 49% and 81% of complying respondents, respectively. The fear of sanction was identified as a reason for compliance by 32% of the respondents in the case of the farming rule and by 16% in the iance case of the bushfire prevention rule. Furthermore, social norms (e.g., morality, traditional fire management practices), peer pressure (e.g., fear of community members and in informal sanctions), the regulatory context (i.e., the availability of legal alternatives by which to obtain the needed resources) and the socio-economic context (e.g., poverty, lack of farming economic land) also played a role in complying with these rules. Concerni the perceived fairness of Concerning the farming and bushfire-prevention rules, respondents explained that the fairness of these prevention rules lay in their purposeful meaning and contribution to forest protection, the maintenance of the rainfall cycle, soil quality, and the protection of farmlands and the community from he destruction.

The need for wood and timber for domestic use and in support of livelihoods (e.g., building shelters) and the perceived lack of fairness of the tree tree-felling rule (i.e., the perception that the community should have the right to use and fell trees on their farmland) are identified as the two major factors explaining the lack of compliance with this rule. The former was identified by 65% and the later by 61% of non non-complying respondents. Further, various regulatory constraints (i.e., the lack of alternative legal means of obtaining a permit to fell trees) were identified by 14% of non-complying respondents, whereas financial gain complying was identified by only 8% of non-complying respondents as a reason f non-compliance complying for (Table 4).

Table 4. Major factors explaining compliance/non-compliance with the studied forest rules.

Percentage of respondents who identified the factors of compliance.

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5.4 Towards an analytical framework for forest rule compliance (Article IV) Article IV proposes an expansive analytical framework for the study of forest law compliance. It embraces the relatively well-established assumption that human behaviour cannot be understood by a single all-encompassing model but requires a multiple model approach that incorporates a broad range of social, psychological and contextual influences (Henrich et al. 2001). It aims to integrate the theoretical literature on rule compliance with the existing literature on compliance in forestry, which emphasises the common sources of non-compliance. It further aims to facilitate the analytical research on forest law compliance by identifying a set of broad causal factors influencing individual law compliance behaviour.

5.4.1 The proposed analytical framework Figure 4. Analytical framework for rule compliance in forestry.

The framework distinguishes between the motivational context (i.e., individual motivations for or factors in compliance) and the external variables that provide the context in which individual decisions are made. While the theoretical literature tends to e emphasise motivations at the individual level, the emerging literature on compliance in forestry to a large extent tends to emphasise external or context context-specific variables influencing compliance behaviour. There is, however, a considerable amount of correlcorrelation and likely endogenous relationships or overlap between individual individual-level motivations, derived from theory, and the external factors, derived from the literature on compliance in the forestry sector.

The analytical framework distinguishes between indivindividual motivations and external or context-specific variables of compliance. The motivational context is categorised as a specific product of instrumental incentives, norms, and legitimacy. The instrumental incentives category consists of three major variables: cost benefits, and the discount rate. Costs refer costs, to potential costs of non-compliance, such as the likelihood and severity of sanction;

compliance, benefits refer to the potential gains associated with the illegal exploitation of resources, such as the size/value of the illegal harvest. The discount rate refers to the way in which e resource users perceive the future flow of resources (Ostrom 1990). If users have a high discount rate in regard to a particular resource, the time horizon for their interest in the resource is short. Consequently, they see short s short-term benefits as a reasonable option and have little motivation to invest time and effort in managing the resources sustainably and for shared long-term benefits. It should be noted, however, that costs, benefits and t term the discount rate are not static variables that are well well-defined in monetary terms. They too are subject to human judgment depending on social and personal norms and values (Ostrom 1990).

The institutional theory suggests two salient classes of norms as motivations for compliance: social norms and personal norms or morals (Cialdini and Trost 1998, Elster 2009). Although norms can vary considerably across cultural contexts, reciprocity norms (Henrich et al. 2001, Gintis et al. 2003), inequity aversion (Fehr and Schmidt 1999) and various forms of social sanctioning (Posner 1996, 1997) appear relevant in a wide range of cultures (Ostrom 1998, Henrich et al. 2001).

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