CONTRIBUTIONS OF COMMUNITY BASED GROUPS TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT IN WESTERN GHANA: A CASE OF COMMUNITIES FRINGING CAPE THREE POINT FOREST RESERVE
The roles of the CBG’s and their impact on the development of communities cannot be under-estimated, but with current emergence of these groups, there are doubts as to whether they are well structured and their roles being clearly defined in order to reduce any conflicts of interest that may occur. This study therefore tried to determine the extent of CBG’s involvement in sustainable forest management, their roles in ensuring sustainable forest management and the constraints faced by the Groups in performing their roles in forest management. The findings of the study indicated that CBG’s fringing Cape Three Points forest reserve were actively involved in all the processes (i.e. decision-making, implementation, monitoring and benefit sharing) geared towards sustainable forest management. The results also emphasized on the roles of the CBG’s comprising boundary clearing, monitoring the reserve, creation of forest protection awareness, preventing illegal chainsaw operations, reporting of illegal activities, fire prevention and prevention of encroachment. The groups were however confronted with numerous constraints that inhibit effective performance of their roles. These were inadequate materials and logistics, delayed payment of funds, financial constraints, attacks from illegal chainsaw operators and weak collaboration with authorities. The overall conclusion shows that the involvement of the CBG’s in management has immensely contributed to the control, prevention and reduction of illegal activities and bushfires in the forest reserve.