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5. Conclusions

1. Just as the term `forest' is relative, so be the term `secondary forest'. But, that various forest types are undergoing significant degradation because of different political-institutional arrangements for their management cannot be disputed. Most Anglophone African nation states continue in the business-as-usual mode when it comes to political-institutional issues around secondary forests because, despite the apparent intellectual appeal the term `secondary forests' conjures, there really is nothing new about a forest being converted from one form to another, for purposes of satisfying needs of the national citizens.

2. It is evident that what is happening to the Anglophone African forests and forest-dependent peoples is not among the best in terms of equity and general promotion of locally based institutions, which are indispensable for local and, ultimately national level development. All this has something to do with scale. It has been suggested that state ownership and jurisdiction is tantamount to open access (Wily, 1998). This occurs as a consequence of scale and locus of authority, in an un-named and therefore unaccountable entity. This is why, at the community level scale, community-based management works because it is a means of bringing resource estates out of situations of open access into a closed management environment and yet today many common resource estates lie in an institutional limbo: state agencies do not possess the level of vested interests or resources to fulfil the obligations they have over time drawn upon themselves, but the local village has, through the same process, been stripped of the socio-legal basis to act (Wily, 1998).

3. While all this is happening at national and local level, a hurricane is threatening at international level: globalisation will leave no sector unscathed. When the rich and powerful international stakeholders discuss forestry issues, they are more inclined to drop in themes on the global carbon cycle and the potential that secondary forests, for example, have in sequestration of `rogue' carbon in the atmosphere. On this theme they certainly will concentrate for the greater part of the discussion before addressing the practical linkages between the global carbon cycle and the livelihoods of survival for the millions of poor rural people who depend on the same secondary forests.

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