Tropical Forest Update

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.


  • The opening session

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

  • Daring to hope

    Photo: A. Sarre

    Africa must set ambitious goals for land-tenure reform

    By Kyeretwie Opoku

  • Land and development

    Photo: E. Mansur

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

    By Paul Tchawa

  • Africa’s big question

    Photo: E. Mansur

    Can the continent find solutions to its colonial landownership legacy?

    By Liz Alden Wily

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

Full edition

The ITTO Tropical Forest Update is published quarterly in English, French and Spanish.
The French and Spanish editions are usually posted about one month after the English.

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Latest editions

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Issue 27 No 2

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There’s plenty of talk these days about “sustainable” or “green” supply cha...

Issue 27 No 1

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Sustainable forestry has much to offer at all scales, from the household to the planetary. Certain non-renewab...

Issue 26 No 4

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The sustainable conservation and use of forests—sustainable forest management, to put it another way&...

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Mangroves are among the Earth’s most productive ecosystems and they produce many goods and environment...


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