The Liberian Government recently signed a pledge with Norway to work toward a complete stoppage of deforestation by 2020. Under the agreement Liberia will become the first nation in Africa to do so. The management of Golden Veroleum Liberia supports such a decision and views it as a valuable step in preserving the nation’s diverse rainforest through no deforestation policies and sustainable development.
The commitment is lined with GVL non-deforestation goals and policies on avoidance of primary forest in favor of degraded landscapes, with the aim of addressing the real problems of Liberia, which by some estimates, is losing up to two percent of its forest cover every year, not thorough palm cultivation but through poverty.
Despite efforts to introduce more sustainable ways to live off the forest, poverty is the biggest threat to biodiversity, leading to illegal logging, mining and burning charcoal as fuel. And with the breakdown in society following the conflict years of the 1990s, there are few jobs available so 80-90 percent of the population.
This new Liberian initiative is consistent with and supports companies dedicated to stopping deforestation, while creating jobs and economic opportunities for local citizens by creating rural income generating streams not dependent on forest depletion, thus providing both rural and government incomes.
In Liberia the need for income generating farming and forestry needs to incorporate a rural model, which built on a real, sustainable middle class base, not on sustaining poverty. Such models have the potential to amplify Liberia’s non-deforestation commitment, with sustainable forest based on replanting or natural replenishment.