Restoring lives and landscapes in Guinea

By establishing effective forest management committees and providing livelihood alternatives, the LAMIL project is tackling environmental degradation in poverty-stricken Guinea.

The Landscape Management for Improved Livelihoods (LAMIL) project has had a profound influence on the management of four large forest areas in Guinea. It has also done much to improve the welfare of local people. Indeed, the two - better forest management and improved livelihoods - are inextricably linked.

Project partners, the World Agroforestry Centre and the Center for International Forest Research recently produced a booklet about the LAMIL project, entitled, Restoring lives and landscapes: how a partnership between local communities and the state is saving forests and improving livelihoods in Guinea.

The booklet is the third in the World Agroforestry Centre's Trees for Change series and is available in English and French.

The booklet explains how a system of co-management was developed, involving local communities and government agencies, and how it is generating considerable interest in Guinea and throughout the region.

Not long ago, these forests were managed by government agencies. Local people were forbidden from using them. As a result, the forests were widely abused, and the authorities were able to do little to stem the tide of illegal logging, poaching and land clearance. Under co-management, in contrast, local people derive real benefits from the forests, and in return they have shown their willingness, and ability, to manage them sustainably.

CIFOR's experience working with forest-dwelling communities around the world contributed greatly to the development of the new co-management regimes.

With its experience researching and promoting the use of trees on farms, the World Agroforestry Centre was able to develop the sort of incentives local people need to improve the productivity of their land, and this has helped take pressure off the forests. Through the LAMIL project, farmers living on forest fringes have planted 300,000 trees for food, live fences, fodder, fuel and wood. They are also growing improved varieties of peanuts, maize, cassava and banana leading to better incomes.

Communities have noticed an increase in the abundance of wildlife in the forest as a result of the project, and recognize the link between good forest management and improvements in their livelihoods

The four year LAMIL project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and involved the government as well as universities and local research centres.