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Justice in the Forest: Rural Livelihood and Forest Law Enforcement

J Tanui


There has been considerable growing international
concern with illegal forest activities over the last
decade or so. Illegal forest activities are said to
cause massive environmental destruction, deprive
governments of billions of dollars in lost revenues
and generally undermine the rule of law.
The concern for illegal activities in forest that
have resulted in deforestation has, in turn, led to
increased studies in the existing forest laws. These
studies have recently suggested that many forestry
laws and regulations can discriminate against small
producers and that a large number of people depend
on small-scale illegal forestry activities to survive. It
has, therefore, been postulated that enforcing these
laws might potentially harm poor people. It is also
feared that some government authorities would
selectively target small producers, truck drivers and
forestry workers rather than the big players who are
responsible for most of the real problems.
As a result of these concerns, the Centre
for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
commissioned exploratory studies drawn from six
countries (Bolivia, Cameroon, Canada, Honduras,
Indonesia and Nicaragua) to help think through these
legal issues in practice and in different contexts. The
studies were coordinated and reports synthesized
into the present final report. The findings of the
report can be summarized in the following thematic

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