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Ghana - 17 June, 2013
Converted chainsaw operators are warming up to establish forest plantations as an alternative livelihood to illegal chainsaw milling. This is because in April 2013, the EU Chainsaw Milling project implemented by Tropenbos International Ghana and partners provided the requisite starter kits to four chainsaw-dependent communities. The kits comprise seeds of commercial tree species for nursery establishment, protective clothing and requisite implements and materials for plantation development.
One key result area of the EU Chainsaw Milling project is that of developing and providing viable alternative livelihoods for chainsaw operators who are willing to quit the illegal activity for other livelihood options that are compatible with sustainable forest management. In keeping with this, TBI Ghana jointly conducted a comprehensive livelihood needs assessment with the operators during which tree plantation development and nursery establishment among others, emerged as an acceptable viable option.
To prepare chainsaw operators for this activity, TBI Ghana organised them and held a series of trainings to build their capacity. To make land available for this, the various Forest Services Divisions of the Forestry Commission with oversight in the project communities have agreed to release portions of degraded forest reserves for the operators to plant and grow the trees.
It is the expectation of TBI Ghana that these efforts can wean chainsaw operators off their illegal activities by meeting their immediate livelihood needs while contributing to sustainable forest management.