Liberia has a range of laws and policies that govern forest management, such as the National Forest Reform Law and the Community Rights Law. Despite these policies, there are still major issues of mismanagement of forest resources, corruption and poor governance. As a result, Liberia currently has no certified forests. The country signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU in July 2011 after negotiations commenced in 2009. On December 2, 2013, the Liberia-EU VPA was entered into force, and marked by Liberian officials signing project funds over to civil society organizations.
Since 2010, the single most important land use category promoted by the Government of Liberia has been commercial logging on private land under Private Use Permits (PUPs). Over a period of two years, the PUPs have extended over an estimated area of more than 2.3 million ha, which is approximately 20% of Liberia´s land mass and 30% of Liberia’s forests. Following a Land Commission Report, the legitimacy of some PUPs have been questioned, which led to an Executive Order in January 2013, setting out a temporary moratorium on the issuance of PUPs for activities involving or related to the felling or export of logs or under any PUPs granted, authorized or approved by the Forestry Development Authority.
According to Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures perceived levels of public-sector corruption - on a scale of 0-100 (100 = very clean), Liberia is ranked 83rd out of 177 countries assessed. It has scored a corruption index of 38, meaning it has a perception of relatively high corruption. However, in its recent corruption country profile it says that despite performing below world averages, Liberia has made “remarkable progress” in corruption control since 2006. The perception of corruption has increased slightly from 2012 where Liberia was ranked 75th out of 176 countries with a corruption index of 41.
The World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) is a set of governance indicators for all world economies. These indicators are important barometer in terms of risk assessment. The WGI country reports are based on the six following aggregate governance indicators: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. Countries are ranked (percentile rank model) for each of the six governance indicators on a scale from 0 to 100 where 0 corresponds to lowest rank and 100 corresponds to highest rank (better governance). Access the Liberia Governance Indicator Data Report.
Making the Forest Sector Transparent is a four year project managed by Global Witness that supports civil society groups in forest-rich countries to engage with policy makers and advocate for accountable forest sector governance. The project has designed and piloted a ‘transparency report card’ that gathers data on the level of public access to information, as a means of assessing transparency and any progress made towards the improvement of forest sector policy and practice. The project focused on a few pilot countries, including Liberia. Access the Global Witness Transparency Report: Liberia.
Freedom of Information Act of Liberia (FIA) The FIA was ratified in 2010 and sets out requirements for all government agencies to improve accessibility of information for the public. It is an important commitment to demonstrating transparency and good governance across all branches of government.
Laws and Regulations
In 2004, Liberia initiated a forest sector reform process, which included a review of all existing logging concession claims. This required a review of all laws and regulations relating to forestry, as well as the forest policy and management strategies. The action gathered momentum with the enactment of new forestry legislation, the redrafting and adoption of regulations for implementation, the development of a new forest policy and the formulation of a new forest management strategy.
Key pieces of legislation were brought in, including the 2006 National Forestry Reform Law, which is the current legal instrument that guides the management of forest resources in Liberia. It also led to the Community Rights Law of 2009. Under the framework of these two statutes, a variety of different permits and concessions types have developed, which are dependent on the ownership and type of land, and the resources to be extracted. The National Forest Policy of 2006 describes the main directions for the future of forestry development in Liberia, and it updates earlier polices so they take into account the new law. The 2009 Community Rights Law was brought in to fully engage and empower communities in the sustainable management of the Liberian forests by creating a legal framework that defines and supports community rights in the management and use of forest resources.
To conserve and sustainably manage all forest areas, so that they will continue to produce a complete range of goods and services for the benefit of all Liberians and contribute to poverty alleviation in the nation, while maintaining environmental stability and fulfilling Liberia’s commitments under international agreements and conventions.
The National Forestry Law of 2000 was superseded by the 2006 NFRL. The NFRL outlines the Forest Development Authority’s (FDA) primary statutory objective in ensuring sustainable management and conservation of forests and sustainable development of the economy with the participation and for the benefit of all Liberians. The NFRL also describes a legal requirement (Section 10.1c) for a new law governing community forest rights - the Community Rights Law (CRL) - which came into effect in 2009.
The NFRL also dislocates forest resources from forest land, by stating that all forest resources in Liberia are the property of the Republic (apart from Communal Forests and artificially generated forests on private land). This right does not give the government ownership of the forest land itself, but it allows the government or those to whom it has sold use permits to exploit forest resources regardless of the legal or customary landowners’ wishes. In return, compensation for disturbance and damage to property is to be given, but not for the loss of the benefit and use of the land.
The NFRL also contains substantial provisions on wildlife conservation, environmental protection, protected areas, and trade. The text also places a duty on the FDA to create a Protected Forest Areas Network covering a minimum of 30% of Liberia’s forested area.
The CRL encourages and empowers communities to fully engage with the sustainable management of the forests of Liberia. The law creates a legal framework that defines and supports community rights in the management and use of forest resources.
To be eligable for a Forest Management Contract, several requirements must be met, including: (1) the land involved must be a potential concession within the National Forest Management Strategy; (2) the land cannot include private property; (3) the applicant must have a long-term forest management plan; (4) an environmental impact statement must be made; (5) the applicant must show they have both the financial and technical capacity to manage the forest; (6) the permit holder must establish an agreement with local forest-dependent communities; (7) the contract holder must pay the Goverment the fee agreed to in the bidding process, plus any other taxes/fees for the privilege of harvesting. The permit holder is also restricted from felling a tree without a valid Annual Harvesting Certificate. In addition, the holders must also show they are owned by at least 51% Liberian citizens to be eligible.
To obtain a Timber Sale Contract (TSC), applicants must also follow the National Forest Management Stragey and not operate private land. In addition, TSCs are limited to 3 year terms, the land area cannot exceed 5,000 hectares, annual operations plans are required, and the holder must pay the government the amount promised during the concession bidding process, plus any other taxes and fees. Like with the FMCs, the Liberian Government will only accept bids from parties that show ownership by at least 51% Liberian citizens. The regulatory framework for both FMCs and TSCs is the most comprehensive. Most of it was established in the FDA’s Ten Core Regulations, which were produced immediately after the NFRL was passed.
The Authority may issue Forest Use Permits (FUPs) for smaller, low-impact forest uses, but it must also include provisions in the FUP for ensuring the conservation of the forested area. FUPs can be issued for the following activities: charcoal production, tourism, research/education, wildlife-related activities, timber harvesting (limited to local use within county or community), and harvest of non-timber forest products. FUPs may be issued under a concessions process like with TSCs and FMCs, but are typically offered either free of charge, at a regulated price or at a rate based on the amount of resources taken or used. The area covered by a single FUP cannot exceed 1,000 ha.
For a party to extract forest resources from private land, the Private Land Owner must have given it permission to do so in writing. In addition, the party must have a valid Private Use Permit and a valid Annual Harvesting Certificate from the Authority. The party must also have an operations plan and conduct their work under the same rules and regulations as those harvesting on national concessions. This includes things like stumpage fees.
Under Section 3.1, communities have the right to control the lawful use, protection, management and development of their forest resources. In addition, communities may enter into small-scale commercial contracts for harvesting timber and non-timber forest products on their forest lands. They may also negotiate with concessionaires licensed by the Authority using social contracts. If they do, communities have the rights to at least 55% of all revenues/income generated from large-scale commercial contracts between communities, the Authority, and third parties for harvesting timbers on their community forest land.
Under the new Liberian Land Rights Policy, the vast majority of Liberian citizens are in the process of acquiring first time land ownership rights. Liberia has had a lengthy and complicated land tenure reform process, but under the LRP, which designates that public land, Government land, customary land, and private land, as well as protected areas, are to be conserved for the benefit of all Liberians. This Policy was developed under the guiding principals of securing land rights, encouraging economic growth, and providing equitable benefits, equal access/protection, environmental protection, clarity, and participation. Notably, the Policy seeks to address historic inequalities by giving customary lands equal protections to those of private lands.
“Due to allegations of misrepresentations and abuses in implementing Liberia’s NFRL as it pertains to PUPs, the Government responded with Executive Order No. 44, which sets out a temporary moratorium on the issuance of Private Use Permits (PUPs) and activities involving or related to the felling or export of logs under any current PUPs granted, authorized or approved by the Forestry Development Authority. The moratorium applies to individuals, communities, groups, and associations who are holders of PUPs and to all logging activities whether natural or juridical. The relevant ministries and Government agencies are required to take necessary action to remedy the situation through criminal prosecutions, review of the relevant legal and regulatory framework, validation of deeds, audit of the Forestry Development Authority, etc. The Executive Order says the moratorium shall remain in effect until otherwise lifted. As of March 2014, the moratorium was still in effect.
The Forest Development Authority Act of 1976 and its subsequent amendments establish the FDA as a corporate body pursuant to the Public Authorities Law. These laws give the FDA the power to establish Government Forest Reserves, Native Authority Forest Reserves, Communal Forests and National Parks. Since its creation, however, and through Liberia’s complicated political and conflict riddled past, the FDA has been challenged with theft, destruction of infrastructure and equipment, and the deterioration of staff skills and motivation. High occurrances of corruption and poor governance have also weakened the FDA’s ability to execute its duties. Following the passage of the NFRL, the FDA has progressed and it developed several regulations to guide its work. In 2007, the FDA issued its Ten Core Regulations, which include policies on public participation, forest land-use planning, pre-qualification; tender; award and administration; pre-felling rules, benefit sharing, forest fees, chain of custody, rights of private land holders, and penalties.
In 2013, an Act was passed amending Section 6.1 of the 1976 FDA Act, which created the Forestry Development Authority. The new text sets out who should be on the Board of Directors of the FDA.
This Act establishes the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, which now regulates all forms of public procurement and concessions, provides for institutional structures for public procurement and concessions, and prescribes methods and procedures for public procurement and concessions. The Commission has oversight responsibility for all public procurement and concessions, and is responsible for developing rules, Instructions, regulations, etc. The Commission can grant concessions of whatever form in all sectors including, but not limited to: (a) mineral exploration and mining; (b) fishing; (c) forestry; (c) water and other utilities; (d) agriculture concessions including plantations; and (e) oil exploration and extraction.
This Act provides the context of how the Liberian Land Commission will function, including its administration, structure, operations, powers, responsibilities, among other things. The Commission is deemed independent from the Government in order to propose, advocate and coordinate land reform policies, legislation and programs in Liberia. Its goal is to reform land policy shall so it is more equitable and productive, and so people have greater access to land resources, security of tenure, effective land administration and management. The Act defines the functions of the Commission and articulates its powers.
This law sets out the general principles of environmental management in Liberia and defines a national right to a clean and healthy environment. The text formalizes the requirement for environmental impact assessments prior to any development, and it defines the procedures for developers submitting an environmental mitigation plan in order to work in Liberia. The law also requires the State to form an Environmental Impact Assessment Committee for reviewing EIS submissions. Other provisions of this law concern the EPA’s roles at monitoring, auditing and licensing.
Domestic production and consumption of timber is estimated to exceed actual timber exports out of Liberia, much of it to do with illegal chain saw milling. As a result, however, the domestic sector is a major source of employment, particularly in rural areas. It is believed that there are over 15,000 chainsaw operators, traders and domestic timber dealers in Liberia, plus the numerous community workers that support them, including: cooks, transport workers, etc. As a result, curbing unchecked chain saw milling is a significant challenge. The Chain Sawing Regulation No 115-11 recognizes the need to formally identify and regulate chain sawing in Liberia as a means of maximizing the socio-economic benefits of chain sawing while addressing/mitigating its negative ecological and environmental impacts. The Regulation therefore establishes a structured process by which authorization for chain saw milling is requested, reviewed, and granted or denied. The object is to ensure that chain saw milling is carried out in an environmentally appropriate manner and through procedures and practices that promote the mutual interests of chain sawyers, communities and sustainable forest management in the Republic of Liberia. Unfortunately, although the regulations are on paper, they have not been implemented yet.
The NFRL states in Section 13.3 that all producers and exporters of timber shall maintain main offices in Monrovia and sub-offices in their areas of operation. They must also use local banks. Section 13.4 states that to ensure the availability of quality timber and wood products on the Liberian market, all timber producers must place a minimum of 5 to 10 % of their production on the local market. Section 18 on Processing Rights covers the following: - Holders of Forest Management Contracts or Timber Sale Contracts may establish mills within Liberia for conditioning, treatment, refining, and processing - FDA requires those bidding on Forest Management Contracts to demonstrate their capacity to assist value-added industries in Liberia - FDA shall promote value-added processing of timber and wood-derived products within Liberia by requiring contract holders to create a strategy for enhancing domestic processing.
The NFRL and FDA Regulations also specify that timber must be tracked along the chain of custody to the domestic market or the point of export regardless of the type of land on which it was harvested (See FDA Regulation No 108-07).
Section 11.5 of the NRFL states that no concession holder shall take any of the following actions on forested land without express, written permission from the Authority: - Develop roads, canal seaports, river ports, or airports.
To facilitate verification of applicable taxes and fees and legal origin of Timber prior to the issuance by the Authority of any export permit, the Authority shall establish and maintain s, pipelines, channels, conveyors, or other above-ground conduits for the purpose of transporting products beyond the land subject to a valid Forest Resources License. - Create or develop a Chain of Custody System for all Timber. In Section13.5 e of the NFRL, which deals with Chain of Custody, it states that “[o]n and after the beginning date declared under Subsection (d) of this Section, no Person shall import, transport, process, or export Timber unless the Timber is accurately enrolled in the Chain of Custody System”. According to s 13.8 of the NFRL 2006, the Authority shall not issue an export permit without confirming that all taxes and fees relating to the Forest Products subject to the permit have been paid.
The objective of the national CoC System is to maximize the economic potential of Liberia’s forest sector and associated beneficiaries by using a comprehensive monitoring system designed to ensure that both wood products and revenues are documented, tracked down, and accounted for. The CoC system tracks logs harvested in forest concessions in Liberia, from the stump to the port; the CoC also ensures the legality of log exports, and that all appropriate taxes and fees are paid.
Provides for transport service and infrastructural planning and development. It recommends investment options or the various subsectors (modes of transport) and suggests the arrangements and procedures for multi-modal system to minimize the cost of transport.
The Stumpage and Forest Products fees ensure that a fee will be paid on timber cut for commercial use in reserved forests and on privately owned forest lands. An Industrial Incentive Fee is to be paid by any person who ships or causes to be shipped unprocessed round logs for processing abroad. The goal is to encourage the growth of the timber industry in Liberia by raising the amount of value-added products that are exported.
The Public Procurement and Concessions Commission Act relates to the specific procedures for processing concession agreements, regulating all forms of public procurement and concessions (including forest concessions), establishing the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, providing for institutional structures for public procurement and concessions, as well as stipulating methods and procedures for public procurement and concessions and for purposes related thereto. See "Related Links" for more information.
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Liberia and the EU is a bi-lateral trade agreement ensuring that all timber and timber products from Liberia entering the EU market are verified legal. The objective of the agreement is to provide a strong legal framework so that only legally produced goods leave Liberia and are imported in the EU, and, in doing so, also promote trade in timber products. In addition, the VPA provides a basis for discussion and cooperation between the Parties, helping facilitate the implementation of the Agreement thereby enhancing Liberian forest law enforcement and governance. The VPA negotiations started in 2009 and it was signed in 2011. On December 2, 2013, the Liberia-EU VPA was entered into force, and marked by Liberian officials signing project funds over to civil society organizations.
According to the revised Investment Act 2010, while foreign investors may independently own and control a business or do so in partnership with Liberians, foreign investors cannot own businesses involved in the retail sale of timber and planks in Liberia.
Liberia is a party to the following international conventions and agreements:
- The Convention on Biological Diversity;
- The International Tropical Timber Agreement;
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
- The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification;
- The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species; and
- The RAMSAR Convention on Wetland Management.
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement among governments whose purpose is to ensure that international trade in wild animal and plant species does not threaten the survival of these species. A total of 180 countries have agreed to the CITES regulations, which is a legally binding agreement. It is up to each CITES Party to draft its own domestic legislation in order to comply with its CITES obligations.
Liberia became Party to CITES in 1981. There are 34 plant kingdom CITES species that are found in Liberia. However, the only tree-like species listed for Liberia is the Cyathea camerooniana. This is a tree fern, but not a commercially important species. Cyathea spp. are listed under Appendix II of CITES and is applicable to all parts and derivatives of the plant (with some exceptions such as seeds, seedlings, cut flowers, fruit).
For more information on CITES and Ghana, see the following resources:
Liberia is home to globally significant forests and most of its people depend on them for their livelihoods. An estimated 45% of Liberia land area is covered by forest (approximately 4.5 million ha), and roughly half of it is relatively intact. Liberian forests represent over half of the remaining rainforests in West Africa, and they are characterized by moist evergreen forests and semi-deciduous forests cover (predominantly in north Liberia). However, the country has seen rapid levels of deforestation in recent years due to overharvesting and illegal logging, both exacerbated by long periods of civil war. Deforestation rates have been estimated at 1.8% (equating to 60,000 ha) per year. Further pressures on forest resources come from subsistence activities, such as harvesting fuelwood, charcoal production, mining, agriculture, and palm oil.
During Liberia’s period of civil war, the UN imposed a global ban on Liberian timber, which was being used to fund the conflict. After the war, the UN lifted its sanctions, but the regeneration of large-scale timber extraction in the country proved complicated for local people, the environment, and efforts to strengthen governance. Recent actions by the President and her government to address these issues are opening doors for more positive changes for Liberia’s forests, communities that depend on them, and the national economy.
Since the sanctions were lifted and new forest policies and regulations enacted, there has been some re-emergence in exports of logs from Liberia, predominantly to China but also to France and other EU countries. There is still a major lack of capacity in the processing industry caused by dereliction of processing facilities in the war years and a lack of subsequent investment. As a result, the dominant products being exported are round or sawn timber with little no export in value added products. More investment in Liberian timber processing infrastructure is needed to turn this around.
In 2003, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on the international trade of round logs and timber products from Liberia in order to cease the purchase of conflict timber, the revenues of which were used to fund the devastating Liberian civil war. These sanctions were lifted in 2006 following the end of the conflict and the reform of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority (FDA). Prior to the UN sanctions, China was the largest importer of Liberian timber and timber products, particularly in the form of logs (Liberia was China’s 6th largest supplier of logs by volume). Despite poor trade statistics, it is estimated that by 2002, 1,000,000 m3 of wood was exported, approximately 60% went to China and 28% to the European Union (mostly to France and Italy). With the lifting of the sanctions, log exports from Liberia resumed and represented approximately 200,000 m3 of round wood equivalents (RWEs) equating to around $57 million in 2012. This was markedly reduced from its peak of 1 million m3 RWEs in 2002. After the ban, 61% of the total export volume went to China, 18% to France, followed by Turkey and Germany (approx. 5%), Canada, Italy, India and Hong Kong (approximately 2% each).
The timber industry in Liberia faces many serious challenges, including unchecked corruption, poor governance, and the degradation and mismanagement of much of its forest resources. There is a major lack of capacity in the processing industry caused by dilapidated processing facilities during the war years and a lack of subsequent investment. As a result the dominant products for export are round or sawn timber with little no export in value added products. The formal forestry sector is dominated by industrial logging companies, a significant number of which have been operating controversially, failing to pay the appropriate forestry fees and taxes for their concessions.
The proliferation of Private Use Permits (PUPs), agreements between land owners and companies that must be approved by the Government, has also been controversial. For a PUP to be approved by the Government, holders must have a forest management plan, conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and have an agreement with affected communities. However, there are no detailed regulations regarding limits on contract duration and size of PUPs, cutting restrictions and on how communities should be consulted. Companies have taken advantage of this situation resulting in almost a quarter of the entire land area being covered by PUPs, many of it with questionable legitimacy. As a result, Liberia’s President signed Executive Order No. 44 to suspend issuance of PUPs with activities involving or related to the felling or export of logs and those PUPs already authorized or approved by the Forestry Development Authority. The Order will remain in effect until further notice.
The domestic sector has historically been characterized by informal chainsaw milling and is the only source of timber for local markets. It accounted for approximately 11,477 m3 from January 2011– March 2012. The prevalence of informal chain saw milling is estimated to incur US$ 18 million to US$ 42 of losses in unpaid stumpage fees, corresponding to approximately 5% of Liberia’s GDP.
In early 2014, new round log processing equipment began entering Liberia. The Government hopes local Liberians will be trained to use these new machines to create the value-added goods both the international and local markets need. In doing so, domestic wood prices and products will likely become more affordable, and value-added wood products exports should also increase.
Liberia signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU in July 2011 after negotiations commenced in 2009. Ratification of the process is currently in progress.
Common commercially harvested timber species include Ekki (Lophira alata), Niangon (Heritiera utilis), Bossé (Guarea cedrata), Iroko (Chlorophora excelsa), Obeche (Triplochiton scleroxylon) and Dabema (Piptadeniastrum africanum). Learn more about Liberian Tree Species or a Timber trees of Liberia (1974)
For more information:
- Article: Chainsaw Milling: Domestic Unregulated Deforestation Agents or Local Entrepreneurs? (2011)
- Article Chapter: Chainsaw milling and national forest policy in Liberia
- EU FLEGT Facility: Liberia
- FDA Presentation: Trends in the Liberian Export Market Covering November 2009 - April 2012
- FDA and Forest Trends Report: Investment in the Liberian Forest Sector: A Road Map to Legal Forest Operations in Liberia (2008)
- Forest Trends Information Bulletin: Helping Liberia Escape Conflict Timber: The Role of the International Community – China & Europe (2006)
- Global Witness, et al. Briefing: Signing their Lives away: Liberia’s Private Use Permits and the Destruction of Community-Owned Rainforest (2012)
- GlobalTimber Data: Liberia (2012)
- FLEGT/VPA Progress Report: Moving Towards VPA Implementation
- Report: Liberia: Assessment of key governance issues for REDD+ implementation through application of PROFOR forest governance tool (December 2012)
- Article: Liberia & EU Celebrate VPA Enforcement with Signing of Funds for CSOs (December 2013)
- Article: Minister behind bars over massive giveaway of Liberian forests (February 2014)
- Article: Liberia: ‘Got Away’ - PUP Indictment Leaves Unanswered Questions (February 2014)
- Article: Illegal Logs from Liberia Found in French port as sweeping criminal sanctions kick in across EU (March 2014)
- Article: Liberia’s Timber: From curse to blessing? (2014)
- Article: Liberia: Weak Follow-Through On Corruption in Liberia, UN Secretary (March 2014)
- Development Talk: Community Forestry Management Agreements? A new smoke screen for land grabs? (2014)
- Development Talk: The Land Policy in Liberia looking forward (2014)
- Global Witness Briefing: Avoiding the Riptide (2013)
- Global Witness Briefing: Liberia’s Forestry Sector: A new window of opportunity (December 2013)
- Global Witness Report: Logging in the Shadows (2013)
- FERN: EU Forest Watch Report (Issue 191, March 2014)
- The Guardian: Liberian Campaigner urges EU to take action against logging law (March 2014)
Liberia Loggers Association
Liberia Timber Association
Pit Sawyers Association
National Charcoal Union of Liberia
National Charcoal and Fuel Wood Producers Association
The LEITI is a cross-sector partnership with government, industry and NGO/Civil society stakeholders working together to improve information transparency in Liberia. Its mission is “[t]o assist in ensuing that all benefits due to the Government and people of Liberia on account of the exploitation and/or extraction of the country’s minerals and other resources are (1) verifiably paid or provided; (2) duly accounted for; and (3) prudently utilized for the benefits of all Liberians and on the basis of equity and sustainability.
Liberia Chainsaw & Timber Dealers Union
This Union is a NGO established in 2008 to help coordinate the activities of pitsawyers in harvesting timber for domestic and commercial purposes while observing sustainable forest management practices. Its goal is to help reduce poverty by assisting forest-dependent communities with generating income from forest resources at a local level through greater community-based infrastructure development.
Civil Society Organizations
SDI is a Liberian NGO working to facilitate the participation of local communities in the decision-making processes of natural resource management. Within SDI, there is a Forest Governance Programme (FGP). The goal of the FGP is to improve both the governance of Liberia’s forests and benefit sharing with forest communities through policy making, increasing access to information, curbing forest corruption and illegal logging, improving law enforcement and community rights.
NGO Coalition for Liberia
A coalition of NGOs working in the area of forestry and enhancing the benefits of forests for local people.
SAMFU is a conservation and development NGO that promotes partnerships with environmental organizations, the Liberian government and local communities to ensure a sustainable management of Liberia’s natural resources. It maintains a strong network to ensure that the management processes are participatory, transparent, accountable, and peaceful. Further SAMFU educates local people on forestry practices and carefully monitors activities of multinational companies in Liberia to ensure that they meet government standards for the care and employment of their workers.
FFI is an international NGO with various programmes in Liberia, including working to strengthen forest management in post-conflict Liberia. The FFI has played a crucial role in the re-establishment of the country’s only national park, Sapo National Park, by working closely with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
ForestDefender is an online legal database prepared and maintained by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). It focuses on a human rights-based approach for analyzing national policies against international standards. Through ForestDefender, CIEL is able to reach lawyers, activists and community members around the world and to improve accessibility to clear, useable information for engaging in this complex field.
The LFI originated in early-2004 as an initiative led by the U.S. State Department to provide coordinated support to the Liberian forestry sector. It collaborated with a number of other U.S. Government agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, USAID, and the U.S. Treasury Department, as well as NGOs such as Conservation International and the Environmental Law Institute. The LFI helps promote and assist reforms in the Liberian forestry sector to allow for more transparent governance and management of Liberian forest resources for the benefit of the local people.
GA is a Liberian NGO founded in 2001 under Liberian law and accredited by the Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs. GA (also known as the Association of Environmental Lawyers of Liberia) was started by a group of progressive law school graduates. GA is both the first and only public interest environmental law organization dedicated to these issues. It advocates for strong environmental laws, works to enforce existing laws, and empowers citizens to engage in environmental decision-making.
Founded in 1976 the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) is a state corporation mandated to sustainably manage and conserve Liberia’s forest resources.
The Environmental Protection Agency is the successor of the National Environmental Commission of Liberia (NECOLIB), which was first established in 1999. It is the principal authority for implementing the national environmental policy and sustainable management law for the protection of natural resources in Liberia. It was established by the Environmental Protection Agency Act in 2002, which guides the EPA, while partnering with regulating Ministries and organizations, in monitoring, coordinating and acting as the supervisory authority for the sustainable management of the environment.
The Lands Commission was established in 2009 as an autonomous government body. The Commission proposes, advocates and coordinates the reforms of land policy, laws and programs in Liberia. It does not have an adjudicatory or implementation role.
Consisting of numerous departments relating to natural resources.
The President of Liberia’s website. With key documents, recent documents and government links.
Tools and Resources
- Chainsaw Milling: Domestic Unregulated Deforestation Agents or Local Entrepreneurs?
- ETFRN (2010) Chainsaw milling and national forest policy in Liberia
- EU FLEGT Facility: Liberia
- FDA (2012) Trends in the Liberian Export Market Covering November 2009 - April 2012
- FDA and Forest Trends (2008) Investment in the Liberian Forest Sector: A Road Map to Legal Forest Operations in Liberia
- Forest Trends (2003) Helping Liberia Escape Conflict Timber: The Role of the International Community – China & Europe
- Global Witness (2012) Signing their Lives away: Liberia’s Private Use Permits and the Destruction of Community-Owned Rainforest
- GlobalTimber: Liberia
- Jansen (2005) Timber trees of Liberia
- Mongabay Country Profile: Liberia
- Progress Report: Moving Towards VPA Implementation
- Global Witness Briefing: Liberia’s Forest Sector: A New Window of Opportunity