Social Learning as a Vehicle for Complementary Strategies in Forest Resource Management

Felix Kwabena Donkor


Cooking is a daily activity often based on energy to satisfy individuals' nutritional requirements. Wood fuels are the main source of fuel in rural areas of Africa with detrimental health, environmental and livelihood effects. The study investigates how heavy dependence on wood fuels and the resultant degradation of scarce forest resources can be addressed employing social learning coupled complementary strategies. The qualitative method was used carry out the research in the West Gonja District of Ghana. The case study approach was complemented with Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) techniques to gather data from key informants, households and focus group discussions. The use of wood fuels is having a negative impact on critical rural resources such as forest ecosystem services which underpin land-based livelihoods of the study area. The continuous knowledge co-production and utilization within the context of social learning is vital for enhancing adaptive capacity of vulnerable livelihoods especially those reliant on forest resources. Moreover it is crucial to integrate complementary knowledge systems as per social learning and harness appropriate technology when introducing interventions that enable communities to shift to alternative fuel sources. This helps to reduce pressure on communal forest resources and enhance forest conservation with spin-offs for sustainable development.

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