Community Forests Capacity Building Works

Our Community Forests Capacity Building Works reduce poverty and biodiversity loss within community-managed forests (CF) in Liberia through mainstreaming biodiversity and strengthening sustainable livelihoods around Community Forests.

Our program develops capabilities of key rural, forest-based enterprises that provide sustainable economic opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities while combating deforestation and loss of biodiversity within Liberia’s community forestry scheme.

Liberia is a biodiversity-rich and hotspot country currently planning and implementing an extensive community forestry program within or close to priority sites. Most community forest blocks are home to much endemic and threatened biodiversity or close to protected areas, which are becoming severely threatened due to deforestation, fragmentation (or degradation), climate change, and other stressors. Besides, deforestation and forest degradation under the community forestry scheme in Liberia will increase conflicts among forest communities and wildlife because of human-wildlife conflicts because of habitat destruction. This situation severely hurts rare, globally significant biodiversity and contributes to climate change, and increases poverty.

Our Priority Areas

Community Capacity Building in Social Forestry Development

Liberia contains a significant portion (15.3%) of the remaining Upper Guinea Forests of West Africa and lies 98.5% within the biodiversity hotspot. The country is remarkably diverse and supports impressive levels of biodiversity, with high levels of species richness and endemism (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, 2015).

Following the Liberian civil war (1989 – 2003) that ravaged the rainforests, the Liberian government reformed the national forest laws in 2006. One of the most progressive components of the reform was a provision that allowed communities sitting at the fringes of large forest blocks to manage those tracts of remote forests (GoL, 2006). As a result, Liberia currently implements large-scale community forestry programs close to protected areas or hosting globally significant biodiversity. Nevertheless, unsustainable exploitation and deforestation continue to threaten the extinction of globally iconic biodiversity.

In response, VOSIEDA has established and institutionalized a Nation Community Forest Capacity Building Program to develop the capacities of key rural, forest-based enterprises to provide sustainable economic opportunities for forest-dependent communities while combatting deforestation and biodiversity loss.

Capacity building is at the foundation of Forest VOSIEDA’s work with communities because it provides them with the tools to conserve their forests on their terms, secure their rights, and reaffirm their cultural identity.

Community Enterprises and Sustainable Livelihoods

Although forest protection helps the planet and all its inhabitants by mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity, we strive to ensure that local communities are the primary beneficiaries and that these efforts always respect the community’s interests. Under the Community Forest Capacity Building Initiative, VOSIEDA expands sustainable livelihoods and climate-smart agriculture techniques to empower smallholder farmers, mainly women, and youths, to employ sustainable and regenerative farming practices around community forest stocks across Liberia.

Environmental Education and Awareness

In Liberia, studies have shown that community forestry practice has not been adequately informed about best practices and genuine community forest management planning. As a result, Liberia’s Community Forest Program has performed poorly. Massive deforestation, loss of critical biodiversity and habitat, and commercial logging in the community forestry are rampant. The main drivers of these unstainable practices include a lack of livelihood opportunities in the communities, lack of awareness and knowledge of ecosystem values, low institutional capacity, and biodiversity conservation not part of Community Forests.

One key pillar of our Community Forest Capacity Building Works is education (1) to help local communities and stakeholders to acquire a basic understanding of genuine community forest management planning, benefits, and associated problems. (2) To empower local communities and national stakeholders to acquire social values, feelings of ownership, and the motivation to protect and conserve community forests. (3) To empower forest-dependent communities and stakeholders to acquire an awareness of and sensitivity to the community forests and their allied problems. (4) To empower communities to acquire skills to address conflicts, share benefits and monitor biodiversity. (5) To help people develop a sense of responsibility and urgency regarding forest conservations, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.

Community Forest Capacity Building Works

Animal health, laboratory skills, ruminant nutrition, and vaccination programs

Strengthening farmers organizations in post-harvest technology and community grain reserves

Smallholder tree crop revitalization support project (oil palm component)

Putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in Liberia

Promoting food security in Central Liberia (CL) through commercial vegetable and fruits value chain development and livestock production

Increasing capacity for market-oriented vegetable production in Liberia