19 No 2

Owning Africa’s forests

In West and Central Africa, forest ownership is a source of many problems.
Disputes over it cause conflict; among other things, a lack of it causes poverty. In most countries the state has claimed legal title since the colonial period. Yet the customary ownership of the same areas dates back centuries, perhaps millennia. The disconnection between the legal and customary systems results in confusion, misery and lost opportunity.

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The ITTO Tropical Forest Update is published quarterly in English, French and Spanish; the French and Spanish editions are usually posted about a month later than the English.

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Forest-tenure reform ‘too slow’


Photo: J. Blaser

The conference background paper found that Africa lags behind other tropical forest regions in forest tenure reform

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The opening session

The conference was an unprecedented opportunity for the sharing of experiences between countries in Africa

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Daring to hope


Photo: A. Sarre

Africa must set ambitious goals for land-tenure reform

By Kyeretwie Opoku

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Land and development


Photo: E. Mansur

Africa’s land-tenure problems are complex and deep-rooted

By Paul Tchawa

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Africa’s big question


Photo: E. Mansur

Can the continent find solutions to its colonial landownership legacy?

By Liz Alden Wily

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Another look at the law


Photo: A. Sarre

The Cameroon government is embarking on a process to revise Cameroon’s forest law

By Denis Koulagna Koutou

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Legal dimensions to providing customary rights


Photo: A. Sarre

Tanzania has introduced a legal approach to forest ownership that builds on the customary system

By Patrick McAuslan

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Lessons from other regions


Photo: J. McAlpine

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Roundtable: perspectives of forest communities


Photo: Forest Trends

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Roundtable: mapping rights


Photo: A. Sarre

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Roundtable: tenure and climate change


Photo: E. Mansur

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Declaration of African women

The African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests, formed during the conference, made this declaration on the conference’s final day.

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Yaoundé statement

Statement made by participants at the International Conference on Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise: New Opportunities for Central and West Africa, convened in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 25–29 May 2009

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