The published article contributes to a more robust understanding of forest governance assessment tools and structures and identifies the possible influence of overlapping formal and customary administrative structures on de facto governance. This knowledge is relevant for global initiatives that aim to address deforestation and forest degradation e.g. REDD+.
The study applies the Governance of Forests initiatives (GFI) indicator framework from the World resource institute within 24 communities spanning three provinces Copperbelt, North-Western and Eastern in the Zambian Miombo ecoregion.
The results reveal generally low scores of governance indicators, indicating a weak de facto governance performance. The results also reveal that the GFI explains most of the variations in de facto governance but customary and formal governance rules and institutions are differentiated more clearly on the ground than in the framework. The study also finds a high variability of governance processes within and across provincial administrative boundaries.
The results point to the necessity to strengthen the institutions and implementation of rules and relevant governance process on the ground. As well, the results suggest that although the GFI framework is suitable for governance analysis at the local scale, it requires adaptation to differentiate the customary and formal structures on the ground. Additionally, decentralization measures should take into account the variations in governance processes that occur within and across the established administrative boundaries.