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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Community based forest groups in Eastern and Southern Africa - a study of prospects for capacity improvement

Johansson, Karl-Erik; Nantongo, Christine; Gondo, Peter; Roos, Anders; Kleinschmit, Daniela


Community-based forest groups (CBFGs) were developed in eastern and southern Africa based on the assumption that natural resources are best managed by the communities who depend on them. However, many CBFGs have not met expectations due to internal weaknesses and external obstacles. This study describes the current status of CBFGs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia; identifies drivers and barriers for developing CBFGs; and generates insights about how barriers are best addressed. The report combines case studies of 11 CBFGs and a verification workshop. Several factors suggest that the development of CBFGs in the region has been positive, including a high membership; strong commitment; basic operational skills; the growth of local, regional and international markets; and infrastructure improvements. Impediments to CBFG success include inappropriate registration of the organisations, insecure access rights, weak leadership and organisational capacities, limited resources, weak market access and limited entrepreneurial and value adding capacity. This study concludes by suggesting measures to improve the future development of CBFGs in the region.


community forestry; co-management; forest user groups; natural forest; resources and capacities

Published in

International Forestry Review
2013, volume: 15, number: 4, pages: 471-488

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Products
Nantongo, Christine
Gondo, Peter
Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources (SAFIRE)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Products
Kleinschmit, Daniela
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Products

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

UKÄ Subject classification

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Publication Identifiers


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