At least 36 staff members of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and several others representing communities surrounding the Grebo-Krahn national parks located in the south east have concluded a five-day fruitful training workshop on the nine-step process leading to the acquisition of Authorized Community Forestry status which took place in Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County recently.
It can be recalled that the Community Forestry program being executed by the FDA management essentially forms a cardinal part of the 3cs equation (community, commercial and conservation) practices whereby the FDA management statutorily governs and sustainably manages the Liberian forest landscape consistent with the 2006 National Forestry Reform law.
The law statutorily obligates the FDA authority to allow community members especially those residing in forested areas to legally own and manage their own forest provided they meet the standard set forth under the nine-step arrangement or prerequisite. Other components which equally form significant pillars of Liberia’s forestry program are commercial and conservation forestry practices summed up by the community forestry aspect all of whose practices are fairly balanced in scope and practice.
Considered key under the nine-step arrangement is the formation of the Community Assembly (CA) and Community Forestry Management Board (CFMB) which fundamentally constitute the required governance structure at the community level.
One of the key steps include which a given community must meet to qualify is the conduct of the socio-economic and reconnaissance survey basically aimed at determining or measuring in realistic terms the actual value of the forest in question in terms of its true value-the logs, gold, diamonds, among many others. The community forestry program is designed purposefully by the government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to allow community dwellers directly manage their own forest and take direct control of their own economic wheel so as to practically feel a true sense of belonging as far as the economic value and benefits of the forest are concerned. In light of this the nine step process is meant to ensure that the proper thing is done and the true owners of the forest become their own masters.
The training with support from the Liberia Forest Sector Program (LSFP) had been conducted in four regions (1, 2, 3 and 4) thereby educating hundreds of participants on the nine-step process. At the conclusion of the training the participants promised to use the knowledge gained for the intended purpose.