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1. Sierra Leone 

1. Sierra Leone 

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This dissertation evaluates environmental and social change in southwestern Sierra Leone, West Africa as a consequence of externally generated trade in timber in the 19th century and rutile (titanium dioxide) mining in the 20th century. Using a conceptual model based on world-systems theory it sought to investigate interactive connections between e...

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... The first election for an administrative governance in the entire country was held in 1962, which also left the country divided on ethnic grounds, with series of coup plots (all in the late 1960s to 1980s) during the premiership of the 'All People's Party (APC) 2 ...
... The country is bordered to the southwest by the Atlantic Ocean, and with Liberia to the south-1 According to Reed and Robinson (ibid), "Only individuals from the designated "ruling families" of a chieftaincy, the aristocracy created and given exclusive right to rule by the British at the initiation of the system in 1896, are eligible to become Paramount Chiefs". 2 During the tenure of the authoritarian APC rule (in the 1960s -80s), the country experienced high level of problems which caused great damage to the economic, effective governance, civil society and environmental (both land and marine based) fabrics of the country; between 1990 -2000, the economy east and Guinea on the north and northeast (Figure 1) -there are four provincial towns namely, North, South, East and West (WAPFoR), and 14 administrative districts". ...
Article
Sustainable development concept has been associated with many things, as in this situation with “Payment for Environmental Services [PES]”; a modern invention craving attention across the world, and more so for the benefit of those in developing nations around Asia, Latin America and Africa. Financing of sustainable development schemes require scope for enhancing sustained maintenance of basic livelihoods for everyone [both in the present and future], but more so for those whose lives have been heavily dependent on renewable forest resources. The concept of PES has been exemplified in a simple way to enable readers [of all types, ranging from professionals, academics to non-professionals] to grasp basic concepts that bothers on economics and natural resource concepts, and their application in understanding the varied sources of funding sustainable means of livelihoods, while at the same time ensuring the environment is securely protected for the benefit of both present and future generations. To start with, an introduction to the concept of sustainable development is addressed in line with REDD/REDD+ schemes, followed by detailed background information about Sierra Leone as a nation [including the geography. Pre and Post-colonial management of forests, and political economy dimension]. Secondly, there is a focus on the concept of PES, and backed by ways of financing it, particularly in the context of Sierra Leone. Thirdly, there is discussion surrounding the case for PES, challenges and associated benefits. Lastly, the document concludes with an overview of the study and recommendations to address the situation in the context of Sierra Leone.
... In many countries, competition between extraction industries and local people for resources and space has devolved into fullblown conflicts (Adusah-Karikari 2015;Chambers 1987;Cuba et al. 2014;Odukoya 2006;Plänitz 2014;Plänitz and Kuzu 2015). The tendency for the discovery of natural resources to result in negative repercussions in various countries in Africa is an issue that has been explored through many frameworks, including but not limited to resource curse theory, and various development and dependency theories (Akiwumi 2006;Manu 2011;Omoweh 2005;Rosser 2006). ...
... State authorities play an ambiguous role: often complicit in the activities of MNCs, but ill-equipped to enforce environmental regulations even if they wished to do so. They can be coerced by powerful MNCs, to give the "green light" for destructive activities, even when alternative clean technologies and modes of operation exist (Adeola 2001;Akiwumi 2006;Ayelazuno 2011;Bush 2009;Bryant and Bailey 1997;Ecologist 1993;Harvey 1998 (Bryant and Bailey 1997;Bebbington 2012;Colchester 1993;Hecht and Cockburn 1989;Hilson and Garforth 2012). It is the reaction of local people to these outcomes that spark the conflicts that are all too common in resource-rich communities (Blaikie and Brookfield 1987;Bryant and Bailey 1997;Chambers 1987;Hornborg 2006;Kick et al. 2011;Yaro 2013). ...
... Fundamentally, adherents of world-systems theory explain how the current state of the modern world emerged (Kohl 1987). World-systems analysis as devised by Immanuel Wallerstein in the 1970s is deeply rooted in the grand theory of historical materialism of Marx (Adeola 2001;Akiwumi 2006;Bornschier and Chase-Dunn 1985;Chase-Dunn 1998;Kick et al 2011;Wallerstein 1979;Wallerstein 1974). Primarily, Wallerstein was concerned with understanding the global patterns of power and domination, and how uneven distribution of resources and power is shaped by the larger capitalist economic system (Adeola 2001;Akiwumi 2006;Wallerstein 1974;Yaro 2013). ...
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Political ecology is supposed to be a field of two parts of equal importance – "politics" and "ecology." However, critics have pointed to the fact that it dwells on the politics, while rendering ecology secondary in its focus. Political ecologists have hardly used the structure that the concept of ecosystem services brought to the field of ecology, and this lends credence to this critique. In this article, I introduce the concept of "critical ecosystems" that reinforces understanding of the science of "ecology", as an important dimension of political ecology. I use components of the framework of ecosystem services in context of unequal power relations. Some local people who have symbiotic relationships with their environment owe their existence – both their livelihoods and culture – to specific natural resources whose decline has proximate and tangible consequences for them. However, they often lose these "critical ecosystems" in times of natural resource exploitation due to their relative powerlessness. I argue that it is important that political ecologists utilize the framework of ecosystem services in our inquiries, to prioritize those ecosystems that are intricately connected to the survival of the local population. Based on this, I introduce the "critical ecosystems" model, and how it can be modified to fit specific cases and can reconcile the sociological and political dimensions of political ecology, with biophysical understanding of ecological processes. This holistic inquiry, I argue, will make political ecology worthy of its name. Keywords: Political ecology; ecosystem services; unequal power relations; Millennium Ecosystems Assessment; Ghana
... The landscape of Rutile mining communities have changed completely with lakes almost everywhere. Equally, the waste water coming from the Sierra Rutile factories are extremely toxic and polluted, and yet, its disposal safety practices is questioned by critics [45,46]. These wastes are poorly handled in most cases, thereby leading to environmental pollution. ...
Article
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Sierra Leone is blessed with abundant natural resources but yet prone to environmental degradation due to the mining operations. Most often, the mining communities are faced with social tensions, as a result of the possible trade-off between the expected employment impact and the cost of mining operations to the environment. Over the past decades, the contribution of the mining sector to the development of the country has been overshadowed by the fact that the mining operations have had adverse negative effects, mainly due to the country's weak environmental policies and the failure of the mine monitoring institutions, to supervise the operations of mining company operations. This article seeks to examine both the environmental and the social implication of mining operations on three mining edge communities in Sierra Leone. This paper also utilizes secondary data from the published articles, government's reports, workshops and conference proceedings, policy documents of non-governmental organizations, newspapers, and the like to generate this writer's view on the topic under review. The thrust of the review will be on the following: Sierra Rutile Limited, Koidu Holdings Limited, and Shandong Iron Ore Mines. The above mining companies have been carefully selected due to the fact that they are located close to dwelling communities, and have been mining in Sierra Leone over a long period of time. The environmental performance index and the mining impact framework are used to clearly show the impact of mining operations on the environment in Sierra Leone. As a result of mining operations, deforestation is skyrocketing, public discomfort and air pollution has worsened, and social unrest has increased as a result of some unacceptable consequences including pollution of water source without recourse to short-term remedy. The literature reviewed by this writer reveals that the mining activities have two faces in Sierra Leone. One is that it serves as a resource curse. An example to this sad reality is the outbreak of civil war, social unrest among others. On the other hand, the mining sector is one of the principal backbones of the economy. It contributes to the livelihood of the country. This paper introduces three-way approaches of mining sector operation remedies that include but not limited to: 1) sound Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) adoption before mining operations starts; 2) carrying out Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA); 3) regular engagement with all stakeholders of mining-affected communities. This article recommends that restoration activities by mining companies go along with extraction and adequate compensation.
... In view of Munro and Horst's (P.G. Munro & Horst, 2011) study on the political ecology of forest policy in Sierra Leone (Akiwumi, 2006a(Akiwumi, , 2006bM. Leach & Fairhead, 1994), an examination of 19th century lumber exports clearly show that poor accountability in record keeping, and also high level of smuggling could also be some of the contributing factors of the dwindling state of forests as opposed to the acclaimed assertion of over-exploitation by rural community residents and others far afield. ...
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This article addressed historical aspects of the political economy involving sustained forest ecology in Sierra Leone as a whole, with emphasis on the Freetown Peninsula and its surrounding communities. Attention is paid to cultural, social and economic aspects involving forest livelihoods of residents on the Freetown Peninsula and far afield. The term 'Political Economy' is used in this situation to denote the relationship between the economics of people's livelihoods and public policy (in relation to the management of legislative procedures) in ensuring that resources in the forest environment is sustainably managed to cater for the livelihood needs of people in Sierra Leone, while at the same time maintaining a balance in protecting the forest ecosystems. The paper has provided a critical review of the political economy of forest ecology in the country on the basis of scholarly discourses, and its applicability in adapting to the fragile political administrative management Sierra Leone have (and is continuing to) experienced.
... Whereas Fairhead and Leach have effectively wielded the hatchet of deconstruction, in this paper we seek to plant some new analytical seeds drawn from existing material, new sources (i.e. Akiwumi, 2006aAkiwumi, , 2006bDeveneaux, 1985) and recently discovered archival data (i.e. Elliot and Raisin, 1893;Stebbing, 1934) for the development of a nuanced political ecology of Sierra Leone's forest cover history. ...
... Between 1816 and the 1880s, a number of self-made timber barons established themselves in the Sierra Leonean hinterland, exporting timber to European and North American dockyards for the construction of naval ships. Despite several decades of success, however, this trade declined considerably at the end of the nineteenth century due to the shift toward steel-hulled ships, competition from the thriving palm kernel trade and, some suggest, from the exhaustion of the most profitable timber reserves (Akiwumi, 2006a(Akiwumi, , 2006b. While several analysts have argued that the lucrative timber trade during this period had significant environmental impacts (Dorward and Payne, 1975;Millington, 1985aMillington, , 1987b, in their key texts, Fairhead and Leach (1998b) discount these claims. ...
... Indeed, Dorward and Payne themselves note that very little timber production was actually occurring within the boundaries of the British Colony at this time. Moreover, more recent work by Fenda Akiwumi (2006aAkiwumi ( , 2006b demonstrates that the timber trade in Sierra Leone during the period in question was characterised by poor recordkeeping, chronic under-reporting of cargo quantities and widespread smuggling. In sum, historical records of 'officially' exported timber are likely to represent at best a modest fraction of the actual total of timber that was harvested and traded. ...
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In the late-1990s anthropologists James Fairhead and Melissa Leach declared in a series of seminal publications that mainstream understandings of Sierra Leonean forest cover history had greatly exaggerated its past extent and rate of conversion to other land uses. Using archival evidence, they recast the ‘official’ story as a product of antiquated European environmental philosophy rather than empirical data. Moreover, they found that it distorted environmental policy by perpetuating images of a mythological past in which once nearly universal forest cover had been (and continued to be) denuded and degraded by irrational, primitive rural agricultural practices. Building on this foundation, they developed a trenchant critique of the existing academic literature describing land cover change in Sierra Leone, discounting most findings on the grounds of the authors’ uncritical engagement with the colonial-era narrative. In this article we present a re-evaluation of this influential thesis, arguing that while their broader critique is quite sound, historical deforestation in Sierra Leone has most certainly been considerably exaggerated, Fairhead and Leach overreached in their dismissal of prior works. Drawing upon new empirical data, we revisit these debates and develop a more nuanced critical platform from which to understand Sierra Leone’s forest cover history.
... As the colonial adventure was intended to be profitable (or at least self-supporting) (Kaindaneh 1993;Meredith 1986), however, the motive for this act was less to acquire territory per se than to establish control over (and increase) the extraction of valuable commodities for the benefit of the imperial core . The formalization and institutionalization of natural resource exploitation for export was therefore a key focus of the Colonial Government during the early 1900s, pursued through the establishment of managing bureaucracies (Akiwumi 2006a(Akiwumi , 2006bMunro and Hiemstra-van der Horst 2011), such as the Sierra Leonean Forestry Department founded in 1911. ...
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In contrast to media fixation on the physical violence of recent West African conflicts, scholars have emphasized the lasting effects of massive population displacements. In Sierra Leone, for example, roughly 2 million of a total 3.8 million people had to migrate internally and several hundred thousand more fled to neighboring countries. As many have noted, both the experiences of those who were displaced and later returned home, as well as the dramatic shifts in population geography caused by those who did not, have had considerable impacts on important social issues including ethnic relations, identity formation, (macro)economic patterns and medical services provision. What remain less well understood, however, are the effects of these disruptions and reconfigurations on rural livelihoods and, by extension, on the (re) production of human-environmental relationships across broad swathes of landscape. These are of critical importance to processes of postwar stabilization and reconstruction, since most of Africa's mainly agrarian populations rely almost entirely on the productivity of their immediate landscapes for subsistence and small-scale commercial production. Focusing on Sierra Leone, in this chapter we draw on extensive field data to describe how rural residents' responses to both the vagaries of intense and chaotic conflict as well as the unstable conditions of peacebuilding have produced a considerable transformation of people-forest relationships across the country.
... The dredgeponds submerge prime alluvial farmland and gallery forests along streams, also leading to the loss of wild crop resources including plant fibres, medicinal plants, construction timber and fuelwood, as well as sacred sites. Periodic malfunctions in mining operations destroy crops and homes, as well as tracks and bush paths ( Akiwumi, 2006;Akiwumi & Butler, 2008). After an 11-year hiatus during the civil war, the resumption in 2006 of Sierra Rutile's dredge mining and surface extraction processes continue to modify and degrade the natural, and thereby social, environments, causing household livelihood insecurity. ...
Article
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This paper draws from world-systems and sustainable livelihoods approaches to analyze the connections between multinational exports of rutile (titanium oxide), diminished ecological resources and resource-based livelihoods, and gendered household dynamics in a peripheralized mining region in Sierra Leone. The discussion focuses on how the extraction of mineral resources instigated by exogenous capital investors forces links to household transformation, particularly the vulnerability context of women. Using archival records and field survey data, the case study of rutile mining in southwestern Sierra Leone connects the low-waged mining labour of traditional resource-based subsistence communities and deepening marginalization of and financial pressures on women in mining households to global mineral markets. The study focuses on women's coping mechanisms that are embedded within traditional social networks in relation to an external intervention, a low-tech mechanical cassava grater, intended to strengthen their livelihoods. It finds that the potential for this transformation is impeded by sociocultural, environmental and financial limitations.
... A series of dams and spillways were constructed on the drainage systems of the sub-basins of the Yambei, Tikote, Lanti, and Kokpoi between 1967 and 1995 to create reservoirs locally referred to as dredge-ponds to facilitate dredge operations. An extensive road network totaling 455.8 km was also constructed for movement of ore and machinery (Akiwumi 2006). The topography has been modified by extensive tailings areas and ore stockpiles interspersed with dredge-ponds, bare land, regenerating scrub and reforested thicket (Cremer and Warner Inc. 1991). ...
Article
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This paper evaluates the environmental changes in southwestern Sierra Leone, West Africa from rutile (titanium dioxide) between 1967 and 1995. Mining in peripheral parts of the world economy is a consequence of larger global economic interests. Historically, long-distance trade and export production of minerals and other natural resources primarily for the benefit of core countries are responsible for transforming the natural environment and landscapes of peripheral sectors of the world economy. Tracking environmental change in developing countries such as Sierra Leone is challenging because of financial and infrastructural constraints on the use of ground methods of evaluation and monitoring. Remote sensing data are invaluable in assessing the human dimensions of Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) with implications for political ecology. Using available multi-date infrared Landsat images supplemented with field hydrological and biophysical data, we monitored the rapid temporal and spatial dynamic characteristic of mining areas in the study area with a focus on physical changes to the landscape. Reservoir construction for mining has caused flooding of alluvial lowlands, deforestation, and the creation of tailings and stockpiles over mined-out portions of the lease. Although the study was conducted at a local scale, it represents the broad, regional, past-to-present manner by which global economic interests exploit natural resources and impact the environment in distant places.
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Abstract: For more than a decade, Sierra Leonean resource management policy has been firmly embedded in broader political commitments to decentralisation and community 'empowerment'. However, in response to a recent rapid incursion of foreign timber interests, the country's Forestry Division has developed new legislation, recentralizing control of forests to the federal government. Despite its ostensibly 'conservationist' nature, the revised Forestry Act's extensive requirements have (perversely) nearly illegalized subsistence and artisanal use of forest resources while easing access for large commercial timber companies. Yet such an outcome is not necessarily neoteric, as it is strongly reflective of earlier colonial practices relating to the protection and exploitation of nature. This paper examines the tensions and contradictions produced by this discursive entwining of 'forest conservation' and 'timber production' in historical and current Sierra Leonean forestry policies. Initially the paper presents a historical analysis of how ideas and practices around conservation and logging emerged during the early colonial period and their subsequent shaping through various historical processes. This provides an analytical and contextual foundation for a subsequent examination of the contemporary interactions between foreign timber companies, governmental actors and forest-reliant local communities.