1. Background

Africa’s forests cover more than 624 million hectares, representing 20.6% of the continent’s landmass. The forest landscape comprising considerable forest variations including the Congo Basin, the Guinean forests, the coastal forests, the afromontane forests, and many other types of woodlands, is characterized by exceptional richness in biodiversity of high ecological and economic importance. These forests provide valuable goods and services for forest dependent communities. Both rural and urban households are heavily reliant on wood and non-wood forest products that contribute considerably to both local and national economies. Forest-dependent communities also derive intangible benefits from forests through their functions as cultural symbols and sacred sites. Forests are therefore vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.

However, these forests are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation that impact on forest cover leading to their general decline. According to FAO[1] (2015) Africa’s forest area has declined by about 2.8 million ha between 2010 and 2015, a much higher rate that in any other region in the world, due to deforestation and forest degradation.  A recent 2015 FAO assessment report informs that half of the 10 countries globally that recorded the largest annual net losses in forest area between 1990 and 2010 were in Africa namely; Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Forest cover loss has implications on biodiversity including direct and indirect effects on both local communities and national economies.

In order to manage forests wisely for the benefit of current and future generations, it is therefore crucial to have a clear understanding of the situation of the forests and ongoing trends within them. In particular, the overall changes occurring in forest ecosystems are not fully understood as well as the rate and extent of changes the driver of forest loss create in the ecosystems and how such changes impact on those who depend on the ecosystems and even on the ecosystems themselves.

In forest management, it is generally accepted that deforestation and forest degradation are caused by both direct and indirect drivers. The direct causes are human activities or immediate actions that directly impact forest cover. The indirect drivers are fundamental social processes, such as human population dynamics or agricultural policies that operate at the local, national and global levels with an indirect impact. To reverse the current trends in deforestation and forest degradation in Africa, strategies need to be designed that address drivers that negatively impact forest cover with the view to contain forest loss. Livelihood improvement linked to forest protection has been proposed in policy documents for forestry development in Africa as an important solution and should be promoted to mitigate forest cover loss. A deep understanding of the dynamism of drivers of forest cover change and viable approaches to address them is critical to inform best practice for sustainable management of forests.

  1. Rationale

For its annual plan of work 2019-2020, AFF plans to conduct studies to:

  • identify and analyse the dynamism of key drivers responsible for forest cover loss;
  • evaluate gender-based measures and initiatives taken by various stakeholders to contain forest cover loss; and
  • identify and analyse viable alternative sources of livelihood with potential to contain forest cover loss.

For this, the African Forest Forum is recruiting 2 regional experts to undertake these studies in both Anglophone and Francophone African countries.

  1. Purpose of the Work

Conduct an analytical assessment of drivers of forest cover change, more specifically those that drive deforestation and forest degradation taking in account gender aspects, as well as evaluate past initiatives undertaken to contain forest cover loss in different forest types in Africa.

The studies are expected to generate key recommendations on strategies and approaches for addressing the drivers of forest cover loss on the continent that simultaneously promote economic and social empowerment of relevant forestry dependent stakeholders.

Specific tasks

  • Identify and analyse the dynamism of key drivers responsible for forest cover loss in different forest types, and with explicit gender considerations;
  • Evaluate gender-based measures and initiatives taken by various stakeholders to reverse deforestation and forest degradation trends;
  • With respect to task no. 2 above, undertake a comprehensive analysis of viable alternative sources of livelihood that have potential to contain forest cover loss while simultaneously promoting economic and social empowerment of stakeholders, especially women and youth.
  1. Expected Deliverables

For each study, the expected deliverables are:

  • A technical report of about 40 pages long, excluding references;
  • A policy brief, a fact sheet and a journal article, all to be finalised in collaboration with relevant staff at the AFF Secretariat.
  1. Minimum qualifications and skills
  • Have at least a Master’s degree in natural resources management, forestry, environmental management or any related area; a PhD will be an added advantage
  • Be a regional expert with broad knowledge and at least five years’ experience in forestry and natural resources management in Africa;
  • Have good writing skills and have at least written a book chapter and published peer reviewed journal papers; and
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English or French.
  1. Duration of assignment

The tasks in this ToR are for two person‐month of work load, commencing in January 2020 and spread over a period of four months. The consultants shall work from their location but be in close consultation with relevant staff at the AFF Secretariat while keeping to agreed delivery schedule.

  1. How to apply

Please email, quoting the title and number of this consultancy on the subject line and attach a proposal containing:

  • Cover letter stating how you meet the above qualifications and experience requirements;
  • Key results area, corresponding specific activities and methodology for executing them;
  • A data matrix listing information needs plotted against data sources;
  • A draft work plan (clear deliverables plotted against work weeks for each key result);
  • A tentative table of contents with corresponding number of pages; and
  • An updated CV .

With the subject line: “Consultancy no: 01-121 – “Studies on drivers of forest cover change and loss in different forest types in Africa to: d.mutta@cgiar.org and h.bouda@cgiar.org with a copy to exec.sec@afforum.org.

Application deadline is 13 December. The expert will be selected based on their relevant experience and demonstrated capability. However, only successful applicants will be contacted.

[1] http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/326911/icode/