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.
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Vol. 15 • No. 4