In 2009, The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) developed the Guidelines for Forest Management Planning (GFMP). The GFMP aim at providing practical and technical information on the methods to be used for designing and implementing Forest Management Plans (FMP) for sustainable forestry. The document was developed for concessionaires, i.e., the holders of a Forest Management Contract (FMC), in charge of managing their forest concessions in line with the concession agreements which have been ratified by the Legislature. In addition, the GFMP provide the FDA with a set of consolidated procedures and standards in compliance with international standards, a requirement for adequate monitoring of concessionaires’ FMP implementation.
The GFMP set an agenda for preparing sustainable forest management plans on a three-level perspective – a long-term 25-year strategic plan, medium-term 5-year operation plans and annual operation plans.
Over the years, both the FDA and concessionaires realized constrains in the technical and operational implementation of the GFMP and, thus, felt the need of revising them with support provided by the VPA-SU2. The revision primarily gears towards eliminating ambiguousness in terms of language, tabular and mapping information requirements, harmonization with the forest zoning requirements of the 2017 Amended Code of Forest Harvesting Practices, and the incorporation of planning directives for industrial timber harvesting in community forests. Secondly, the amended GFMP are expected to be less bulky and use a simple language so that the framework for sustainable forest management planning becomes better practicable in the Liberian context.
The revision of the GFMP, a process which will last a couple of months, commenced with a three-day workshop on 3rd, 4th and 8th June in Sinkor to review the content of the current guidelines. Pursuing a participatory approach, the workshop involved a cross section of stakeholders from Civil Society Organizations, Academic Institutions, Community and Private Sector representatives, and FDA management staff. Technically, the workshop was led by VPA-SU2 consultant Dan Altrell with presentations from FDA and VPA-SU2 staff. The workshop had the following objectives which could be satisfactorily achieved:
- Discrepancies, shortfalls, and options for better practicability of planning guidelines in the Liberian context are identified including alternatives to the actual planning framework consisting of a 3-level planning with a 25-year strategic planning horizon
- A tentative Table of Content for the amended guidelines is agreed upon.
In a second workshop from 25th to 27th August 2021 the consultant will present and discuss the draft of the reviewed guidelines.
Written by: James Kollie