Dr. Emmanuel Marfo
Position: Research Scientist-Forest Policy and Governance
2003-2006 PhD. (Environmental sciences), Wageningen University, Netherlands
1999-2001 MSc (Tropical Forestry: forest policy), Wageningen University, Netherlands
1993-1997 BSc (Natural Resource Management), University of Science and Technology, Kumasi
I am trained as a policy scientist in the field of environmental science and management but have focused my actual research career on forestry. I describe my sphere of scientific research as political forestry, looking at forest policy and management as a political field with substantial power-play. My ontological and epistemological persuasion of science makes me more of a realist. Hence I start from the construction of conceptual frameworks of subjects of study based on some theoretical persuasion to empirical testing of such frameworks and back to theory construction. I believe that frameworks fundamentally serve as learning heuristics and that every scientist must begin his investigation by taking a clear point of ontological departure. ‘Forestry’ as a political field means understanding the political economy and the political ecology of a subject-matter provide an important context for understanding the policy process. Therefore my research interest falls under forest governance, focusing particularly on investigating issues of conflict, power, institutional frameworks, authority and compliance and the social construction and practice of policy and legitimacy. So far, I have focused more on the ‘community’ as a geo socio-political setting in investigating these subjects.
Conflict is pervasive in natural resource management and indeed defines its contours in policy and practice but less studied, especially looking at it as having both positive and negative impacts and how these manifest in reality. I usually apply the concept of power in conflict studies using an actor-oriented conceptualization called the actor empowermentdeveloped from my doctoral work. It basically conceptualizes power as actor mobilization of resources to undertake influence strategies to manage impairments created through the behavior of others in the day to day claims over space and rights in forest governance. In this area, my major works have been:
Larson, A. M., E. Marfo, P. Cronkleton, and Juan Pulhin. (2010). Authority relations under new forest tenure arrangements, in: Larson, A. M., D. Barry, G. R. Dahal and C. J. P. Colfer (eds.) Forests for People: community rights and forest tenure reform. Earthscan: London, 263pp
Marfo, E. and H. Schanz. 2009. Managing logging compensation payment conflicts in Ghana: understanding actor-empowerment and implications for policy intervention. Land Use Policy 26, pp 619-629
Marfo, E. Managing corporate-community conflicts: lessons from forest-mining conflicts in Ghana. In: E. K. Yanful, C. L. Quintus, S. Abou-Aly, A. S. Doison and L. Vu (eds.) CD Proceedings of the First International Conference on Environment Research, Technology and Policy (ERTEP 2007), Accra 16-19 July 2007
Marfo, E. 2007.Managing compensation conflicts in off-reserve areas in Ghana: understanding actor-empowerment and implications for policy intervention. In K. A. Oduro and K. Okae-Kissiedu (eds.) Restoration and sustainable management of forests in Ghana. Tropenbos International-Ghana Workshop Proceedings 6.
Marfo, E. 2006. Powerful relations. The role of actor-empowerment in the management of natural resource conflicts. A case of forest conflicts in Ghana. PhD Thesis Wageningen University, the Netherlands (ISBN 90-8504-526-6)
I also focus my research on the institutional frameworks that shape actor behavior in forest governance, particularly on the issues of tenure security, representation and participation in decision-making. My major works have been:
Marfo, E. 2009. Security of tenure and community benefits under collaborative forest management arrangements in Ghana: a country report. ISBN:9988-582-84-6, CSIR-INSTI: Accra
Marfo, E. 2008. Institutionalising citizen participation and community representation in natural resource management: lessons from the Social Responsibility Agreement in Ghana. Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal, Vo. 43 No 4, pp 398-412
In studying forestry as a political field and following conflicts, one of the instruments used by conflict actors and stakeholders is ‘law’ to define rights, claim benefits, exclude others and to regulate conduct. But the social practice of law is complex. I study the subject using the concept of legal pluralism, the co-existence and application of multiple legal regimes in a specific social setting, thus deviating from a normative epistemology of law towards an empiricist. My major works have been:
Marfo E., Carol J. P. Colfer, B. Kante and S. Elias (2010). From discourse to policy: the practical interface of statutory and customary land law and rights, in: Larson, A. M., D. Barry, G. R. Dahal and C. J. P. Colfer (eds.) Forests for People: community rights and forest tenure reform. Earthscan: London, 263pp
Marfo, E. 2007. Legal pluralism and Access to forests in Ghana: conflicts and potentials for collaborative forest governance. Scientific report to the International Foundation for Science. Grant no. S/3665-1
Marfo, E., E. Acheampong and C. Osae. 2006. An assessment of compliance with on-farm logging compensation payment regulations in Ghana: implications for policy interventions Ghana Journal of Forestry Vol. 19&20, pp35-44
Marfo, E. Coping with illegality: conflicts over chainsaw lumbering and coping strategies, in: Nketiah, K. S., A. Wieman and K.O. Asubonteng (eds). Chainsaw lumbering production: a necessary evil? Tropenbos International-Ghana Workshop proceedings 2: 2004.
Other research interests have been on science-policy communication, the chainsaw milling problem in Ghana and general governance subjects like accountability and corruption. Major works have been:
Marfo, E. E. Acheampong and E. Opuni-Frimpong (Forthcoming). Fractured tenure, unaccountable authority and benefit capture: constraints to improving community benefits under climate change mitigation schemes in Ghana. Conservation and Society
Marfo, E. 2010. Chainsaw milling in Ghana, context, drivers and impacts. Tropenbos International, Wageningen, the Netherlands. xii + 64pp.
Marfo, E. 2010. Chainsaw milling in Ghana: context, drivers and impacts. In, Wit, M. and J. van Dam (eds.). chainsaw milling: supplier to local markets. Tropenbos International, Wageningen, the Netherlands, xxii+226pp
Marfo, E. 2010. Identification of gaps in policy and regulatory framework on governance related to processing of trees on farmlands and logging residues. Activity report under an ITTO/FORIG project on processing and utilisation of trees on farmlands and logging residues through collaboration with local communities
Marfo, E. potential impact of VPA implementation on livelihoods dependent on the informal timber sector in Ghana: a preliminary evaluation, in Tropenbos International Ghana. 2010. Timber legality, local livelihoods and social safeguards: implications of FLEGT/VPA in Ghana. Proceedings of an international workshop held in Accra, Ghana, 8th and 9th October 2009. Tropenbos International Ghana Workshop Proceedings 8. Kumasi, Ghana.
Marfo, E., B. D. Obiri and V. Agyeman. Review of existing policies and regulations on domestic timber and wood product supply in Ghana. Ghana Domestic Timber Market Study commissioned to Forestry Research Institute of Ghana by Forestry Commission, September 2009
Obiri, B. D., L. Damnyag, E. Nutakor, J. Ofori and E. Marfo. Supply and demand of wood on the domestic market in Ghana. Ghana Domestic Timber Market Study commissioned to Forestry Research Institute of Ghana by Forestry Commission, September 2009
Blackett H., A. Lebbie and E. Marfo. Chainsaw logging in Liberia: an analysis of chainsaw logging (pit-sawing) in the natural forests of Liberia towards a more sustainable production. Final Report to the Forestry Development Authority, Liberia, August 2009
Marfo, E. and E. Nutakor.2009. Communication at the science-policy interface in the forestry sector of Ghana. Ghana Journal of Forestry Vol. 25, pp 49-66
Adam, K. A., M. A. Pinard, J. R. Cobinnah, L. Damnyag, E. Nutakor, S. K. Nketiah, K. Boateng, C. Nyarko and E. Marfo. 2007. Corruption in the chainsaw milling and lumber trade in Ghana. Chainsaw milling and lumber trade in West Africa Project. Research Report No. 2. DFID and RNRRS (FRP) PMF 05-08
Adam, K. A., M. A. Pinard, J. R. Cobinnah, L. Damnyag, E. Nutakor, S. K. Nketiah, K. Boateng, C. Nyarko and E. Marfo. 2007. Decision support system for chainsaw milling lumber trade in Ghana. Chainsaw milling and lumber trade in West Africa Project. Research Report No. 3. DFID and RNRRS (FRP) PMF 05-08
Marfo E. and Nyame, S.K. sustainable forest management in Ghana: challenges to professionalism. In: Nketiah, K.S., A. Wieman and K.O. Asubonteng (eds). Natural resource management in Ghana: challenges to professionalism. Tropenbos-International Ghana Workshop Proceedings 1: 2004.
TrainingI support training in these areas of my research interest, particularly post-graduate research. I have supervised 7 undergraduate and post graduate theses, mainly from Wageningen University, Netherlands and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
Scientific networkingMember of the International Association for the Study of Commons (common property)
Scientific Coordinator of the Forest Policy and Governance Group of the Forestry Research Network of Africa (FORNESSA)
Current research project engagementsDeveloping alternatives for illegal chainsaw milling through multi stakeholder dialogue in Ghana and Guyana. Tropebonbos International in collaboration with FORIG and Forestry Commission
DANIDA-PEN project on Tropical forests for poverty alleviation – from household data to global analysis. Project at data collection stage. 2007 to date (ongoing)