The World Bank conducted a Strategic Environmental Assessment on the forest reform process in 2008/09 and published the findings in 2010 (1). This assessment broadly highlighted the lack of inter-agency coordination and specifically pointed out the lack of a framework for strategic decision making regarding conflicts and trade-offs between development options. No progress has been made since then to address this shortfall.
Over one million hectares of forested land was allocated to concessions and awarded to seven Forest Management Contracts and nine Timber Sales Contracts before this Strategic Environmental Assessment was published, which means that there was no strategic framework for publicly accountable decision-making. Mining, agro-industry, infrastructure and other projects that may impact on forests have also continued to develop without any strategic oversight. For example, in 2010 two palm oil plantation companies were granted concessions with little apparent regard to their impact on forests and communities: Golden Veroluem, next to the Sapo National Park in Sinoe County and Sime Darby, in Gbarpolu, a forest rich county.
A report by the Land Commission in April 2012 also reviewed 25 Private Use Permits (PUPs) for timber extraction, which found that some overlapped with existing concessions. Over 2012, it has been revealed that PUPs cover more than two million hectares of forest seemingly without any over-arching process for evaluating the environmental effects of such a major change in land use.
(1) World Bank (2010) Mainstreaming Social And Environmental Considerations Into The Liberian National Forestry Reform Process – A Strategic Environmental Assessment for Implementation of the 3Cs of the Forest Reform Law 2006. Available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTARD/Resources/336681-1285969000707/LiberiaForestSEA.pdf