Forest Dependents Hold Consultation on Community Resources Management

Monrovia – Under the auspices of the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP), a team from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headed by the LFSP Focal Person, Z. Elijah Whapoe, recently held series of consultative and planning meetings on Natural Resource Management (NRM) with forest-dependent communities in Grand Gedeh, Lofa and Rivercess Counties respectively.

According to a release under the signature of the EPA’s Communications and Media Specialist, Danise Love Dennis, the meetings were aimed at planning and consulting with stakeholders and forest dependent communities in the two (2) project landscapes on the conduct of NRM training.

In addition, the meetings provided the opportunity for communities to review and make comment to the NRM Manual developed for them.  Forest dependent communities suggested NRM related topics/modules they would want to learn about and also took the time to select the dates and venues for the training.

Meanwhile, forest communities recommended the promotion of sustainable harvesting of non-forest timber products (NTFPs) and pit-sawing practices, development of reforestation programs, enforcement of laws on protected species and putting halt to illegal mining activities in the forests.

They also called for conducting animal rearing training, empowering community watch team, involving the Traditional Council and County forest forum in the process, training in forest fire management, training in cash crops production and the use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides and timely supply of agriculture seedlings among others.

Hence, the LFSP is a US$37.5 million project sponsored by the Government of Norway and managed by the World Bank to help reduce deforestation and degradation in targeted forest landscapes in Liberia.

It is also aimed at helping Liberia to sustainably manage the forest and receive financial benefits; especially youth and women in rural communities that are adjacent to existing and proposed targeted protected areas in terms of ownership.

The released said beneficiaries of the project are Liberian communities that are mostly dependent on forest resources from the northwestern region of the country covering Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount and Lofa Counties, and some part of the southeastern region including Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Rivercess and River Gee Counties; while communities located in the north of Nimba will benefit from the support provided by the project for regulatory and institutional strengthening.

Currently in the implementation phase, the LFSP is being executed by several governments’ entities including the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (LME), the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) and the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo–information Services (LISGIS).

In line with the Project Implementation Manual (PIM), the EPA is expected to carry out three Community Resource Management (CRM) training for successful implementation of the project; one of which has already been conducted in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County thus far. The dates proposed by communities for the NRM training are around mid-April 2018.