The National Forest Policy in 2006 broadly aims to integrate and balance commercial, conservation and community (the “3Cs”) forestry activities in order to optimize economic, social and environmental benefits from the forest resources. The World Bank commissioned Strategic Environmental Assessment report in September 2010 of the forest sector states that “Despite a stated policy of coherence between the 3Cs, currently there remains a severe paucity of economic data on the “community” and “conservation” aspects, and the data on commercial aspect is questioned. Lack of data makes it very difficult to plan future activities reliably… The implications of these findings are that, often, the economic decision making excludes the actual and potential benefits of forest management options, resulting in the undervaluation of forest resources”. It is very critical now to undertake a holistic forest use survey which will further inform and trigger a review of the policy to include different options.
The policy was developed in 2006 in the same year that the National Forest Reform Law was produced and does not seem to offer any directions for addressing the current competing interests related to REDD+, agriculture, mining and other land uses that impact on forests. It would be prudent for a review of the policy to address these issues and provide mitigating actions. For example, two large agriculture concessions granted in western and southeast Liberia will impact on the forest ecosystem. Currently, rubber wood is being processed as a forestry product but there is no explicit policy covering it. The development of the REDD+ program has implications for forests, but it is being undertaken in a national policy vacuum.
|National Forest Policy and Implementing Strategy
|Forestry Development Authority (FDA)