Community Forests Program

Our capacity building initiatives for community forests reduce poverty and biodiversity loss in Liberia. We do this by mainstreaming biodiversity and strengthening sustainable livelihoods around community forests. Our program develops the capabilities of key rural, forest-based enterprises which provide sustainable economic opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities. This helps to combat 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

The Community Forest Program in Liberia falls short in effective community forest management planning, leading to deforestation and biodiversity loss. This is due to several factors, including inadequate livelihood opportunities, insufficient institutional capacity, and a lack of awareness of ecosystem values.

To address these issues, a key focus of our Community Forest Capacity Building program is education. Our objective is to equip communities and stakeholders with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement genuine community forest management planning. Through education, we aim to foster a sense of ownership, social values, and motivation to protect and conserve community forests. Additionally, we provide training on conflict resolution, benefit-sharing, and biodiversity monitoring to enhance community capacity. For more information, please visit: 

Some Supporters and Partners of our Community Forest Capacity Building Initiatives