International Development Planning Review

Mining in Ghana's forests: cross-sectoral linkages and the prospects for REDD

International Development Planning Review (2013), 35, (3), 283–302.

Abstract

Paper submitted October 2012; revised paper accepted December 2012. Strategies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) are being pursued in numerous developing countries. Proponents contest that REDD mechanisms could deliver sustainable development by contributing to both environmental protection and economic development, particularly in poor forest communities. However, among the challenges to REDD and natural resource management more generally is the need to develop a comprehensive understanding of cross-sectoral linkages and address how they impact the pursuit of sustainable development. Drawing on an exploratory case study of Ghana, this paper aims to outline the linkages between the forestry and minerals sectors. It argues that contemporary debates give incommensurate attention to the reclamation of large-scale mine sites located in forest reserves and neglect to consider more nuanced links, which characterise the forestry-mining nexus in Ghana. A review of key stakeholders further elucidates the complex networks that characterise these linkages and highlights the important role of traditional authorities in governing across sectors. If the multiple roles of local resource users and traditional authorities continue to be neglected in policy mechanisms, schemes such as REDD will continue to fall short of achieving sustainable development.

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Hirons, Mark