Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Resilient Ecosystems and Flourishing Communities

Exploring the meanings of lands and forests as an avenue for mutual development of people and nature in Ghana.

2024 - 2029
Davina Osei

About the project

Most communities in rural and peri-urban Africa tend to be Forest-Dependent Communities (FDCs). They also tend to be highly vulnerable to land and forest-use rights. They also typically face a dilemma as these communities must simultaneously use and conserve forest ecosystem services. This dilemma makes such communities vulnerable to food security and environmental degradation issues, that present significant challenges to African countries in meeting Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2,11, and 15. The proposed Resilient Ecosystems and Flourishing Communities (REFloC) project aims to provide conceptual, methodological, and policy interventions to help understand and address the multiple vulnerabilities facing both FDCs and their ecosystems. Focusing on two rural/peri-urban communities in Ghana, this project will deploy a multi-foci model aimed at

  1. Exploring the meanings of land and forests as avenues for the mutual well-being of ecosystems and communities;
  2. Developing a conceptual framework for understanding mutually re-inforcing mechanisms between forests and humans that can promote resilience building and flourishing of communities and their environment;
  3. Co-creating development toolkits with communities and policymakers to promote the resilience and flourishing of such communities and
  4. Developing educational toolkits for interdisciplinary decolonial teaching.

A key output from this project will be an online geo-referenced dashboard, which provides multidimensional indicators of economic, environmental, cultural and social vulnerabilities facing households and ecosystems in rural and peri-urban communities as defined by the communities themselves. 

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