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Using a mixed methods approach to assess the impact of co-management on community and household resilience in Ghana

Kofi Akamani

Department of Forestry, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA

Recent years have seen the increasing adoption of the social-ecological resilience perspective as a framework for pursuing the sustainability of resource-dependent communities. From the resilience perspective, communities are constantly exposed to multiple drivers of change to which they must adapt in order to be sustainable. One of the most frequent drivers of change in resource-dependent communities is the implementation of conservation policies, such as co-management, which refers to institutional arrangements for joint resource management that involve the sharing of power, rights, and responsibilities between states and resource users. Co-management promises several benefits, including enhanced equity, efficiency, and effectiveness in the resource management process, as well as the promotion of sustainability, capacity-building, and resilience. However, the relationship between co-management and social-ecological resilience has not received adequate research attention. Importantly, the issue of scale has not received explicit recognition in the assessment of co-management outcomes. This presentation utilizes qualitative and quantitative data gathered from two forest-dependent communities abutting the Tano-Offin and the Afram Headwaters Forest Reserves in the Ashanti region of Ghana to assess the impacts of Ghana’s collaborative forest management (CFM) program on social-ecological resilience at the community and household levels. Analysis of qualitative data at the community level indicated that when comparing current community conditions to conditions prior to the implementation of the CFM program, both communities have experienced marginal improvements in the various capital assets that shape community resilience. At the household level, a statistical comparison of current household capital assets with capital assets prior to the CFM program showed varying levels of decline in household capitals across the two communities. These results suggest the impacts of co-management on social-ecological resilience may be sensitive to the scale at which assessments are made.

Utilisation d'une approche à méthodes mixtes pour évaluer l'impact de la cogestion sur la résilience des communautés et des ménages au Ghana

Kofi Akamani

Department of Forestry, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, États-Unis

Ces dernières années ont vu l’adoption croissante de la perspective de résilience socio-écologique comme cadre pour la poursuite de la durabilité des communautés tributaires des ressources. Du point de vue de la résilience, les communautés sont constamment exposées à de multiples moteurs de changement auxquels elles doivent s’adapter pour être durables. L’un des moteurs de changement les plus fréquents dans les communautés dépendantes des ressources est la mise en œuvre de politiques de conservation, telles que la cogestion, qui fait référence à des arrangements institutionnels pour une gestion conjointe des ressources qui impliquent le partage du pouvoir, des droits et des responsabilités entre les États et les ressources. utilisateurs. La cogestion promet plusieurs avantages, notamment l’amélioration de l’équité, de l’efficience et de l’efficacité du processus de gestion des ressources, ainsi que la promotion de la durabilité, du renforcement des capacités et de la résilience. Cependant, la relation entre la cogestion et la résilience socio-écologique n’a pas reçu une attention adéquate de la recherche. Il est important de noter que la question de l’échelle n’a pas été explicitement reconnue dans l’évaluation des résultats de la cogestion. Cette présentation utilise des données qualitatives et quantitatives recueillies auprès de deux communautés tributaires des forêts jouxtant les réserves forestières de Tano-Offin et Afram Headwaters dans la région d’Ashanti au Ghana pour évaluer les impacts du programme de gestion forestière collaborative (CFM) du Ghana sur la résilience socio-écologique au les niveaux de la communauté et des ménages. L’analyse des données qualitatives au niveau communautaire a indiqué qu’en comparant les conditions communautaires actuelles aux conditions antérieures à la mise en œuvre du programme CFM, les deux communautés ont connu des améliorations marginales dans les différentes immobilisations qui façonnent la résilience communautaire. Au niveau des ménages, une comparaison statistique des immobilisations courantes des ménages avec les immobilisations avant le programme CFM a montré des niveaux variables de déclin dans les capitaux des ménages dans les deux communautés. Ces résultats suggèrent que les impacts de la cogestion sur la résilience socio-écologique peuvent être sensibles à l’échelle à laquelle les évaluations sont faites.

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4 Responses

  1. This is very fascinating.

    Could you kindly explain more on your findings on bridging and bonding social capital – and possibly their interactions and implications for collective action?

    Was this a one-off study or were you building upon a previous baseline?

  2. Tied to the question by Mapedza, i would really love to read more on your findings about bridging and bonding capital.In my PhD study (writing thesis) i found linking and bridging capital to have a strong influence on social learning about SLM but bonding capital not so much.

  3. Dear Everisto and Karaya,

    Many thanks for your nice feedback and thoughtful questions. Your questions seem to focus on the results at the household level. The quantitative household level data were collected using a new resilience assessment instrument. In the final version of the instrument that was used in the analysis, social capital items included trust, reciprocity, cooperation and leadership. We conceptualized bonding social capital as the quality of relationship among members of a household, while bridging social capital was conceptualized as relationships among households within a given community. We did not explicitly measure linking social capital. However, we had a construct on household connectedness to forest organizations/institutions and those institutions included external organizations, so conceptually, that construct captures linking social capital as well.

    To respond to Everisto’s question, results from our regression models showed that bonding social capital and connectedness to forest organizations had a significant positive effect on household participation in the collaborative forest management program, but bridging social capital did not have a statistically significant effect on participation. We interpreted the strength of bonding social capital to imply that family ties with leaders of the collaborative forest management program may be an important factor in creating opportunities for participation. The results on bridging social capital, however, came as a surprise. With regard to the interactions, to the best of my knowledge, the interactions among the various types of capital assets have not received enough research attention. Although we did not look at this in detail, we did analyze the effect of past capitals on current capitals and the results showed that each type of past household capital asset had a statistically significant positive effect on current levels of those assets. Past household bonding social capital had a significant positive effect on current bonding social capital, but a negative effect on current household bridging social capital. Again, we did not dig too much into the interactions, but the negative effect of bonding social capital on bridging social capital is not surprising, as high levels of in-group solidarity may constrain opportunities for trust and cooperation with outsiders (Francis Fukuyama 2001). The study was designed to test a new conceptual model on community resilience as well as new indicators for assessing community resilience, so no previous baseline studies existed. The framework and instruments are currently being applied to Nepal’s community forestry program by a Ph.D. student under my supervision, but I’m yet to revisit the Ghana case study. It will be a pleasure to discuss further potential applications in Ghana.

    To Karaya: I think your findings are very interesting and consistent with the social capital literature. Linking and bridging social capital both capture social ties outside a given group and those ties provide new opportunities for learning, resource mobilization, creation of new opportunities etc. To read more about my results, please see the following:
    Akamani, K. & Hall, T. E. (2015). Determinants of the process and outcomes of household participation in collaborative forest management in Ghana: A quantitative test of a community resilience model. Journal of Environmental Management, 147, 1-11.

    Other results from the same study can be found in:
    Akamani, K. & Hall, T. E. (2019). Scale and co-management outcomes: Assessing the impact of collaborative forest management on community and household resilience in Ghana. Heliyon, 5(1), e01125.

    Akamani, K., Wilson, I. P., & Hall, T. E. (2015) Barriers to collaborative forest management and implications for building the resilience of forest-dependent communities in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Journal of Environmental Management, 151, 11-21.

    Akamani, K. (2012). A community resilience framework for understanding and assessing the sustainability of forest-dependent communities. Human Ecology Review, 19(2), 99-109.

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