Scalar politics and black markets: The political ecology of illegal rosewood logging in Ghana

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Keywords

srhreports, illegallogging, illegal resource extraction, endangered flora, rosewood, environmental degradation, black markets, hierarchical corruption

Description

Rosewood is currently the most trafficked endangered plant species globally, with much of this illegal trade originating from Africa. To regulate rosewood extraction, many African countries have adopted centralized forest governance approaches. Following several partial bans, the government of Ghana placed a comprehensive ban on rosewood extraction in March 2019. Despite these bans, illegal extraction and export of rosewood continue to persist. Drawing theoretical insights from political ecology and based on empirical research in northern Ghana, we explore the drivers of the persistent illegal extraction of rosewood. Our findings reveal a complex mix of multiscalar processes including the rapid deployment of transnational capital into local agrarian communities by transnational rosewood dealers; selective enforcement of statutory bans; hierarchical corruption; and ecological and socioeconomic vulnerabilities as key drivers. These drivers are embedded in intricate processes of down- scaling and up-scaling among diverse actors. This study contributes to the literature on scale jumping in political ecology and demonstrates how global forces interact with local processes to shape environmental degradation.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Scalar politics and black markets: The political ecology of illegal rosewood logging in Ghana

Rosewood is currently the most trafficked endangered plant species globally, with much of this illegal trade originating from Africa. To regulate rosewood extraction, many African countries have adopted centralized forest governance approaches. Following several partial bans, the government of Ghana placed a comprehensive ban on rosewood extraction in March 2019. Despite these bans, illegal extraction and export of rosewood continue to persist. Drawing theoretical insights from political ecology and based on empirical research in northern Ghana, we explore the drivers of the persistent illegal extraction of rosewood. Our findings reveal a complex mix of multiscalar processes including the rapid deployment of transnational capital into local agrarian communities by transnational rosewood dealers; selective enforcement of statutory bans; hierarchical corruption; and ecological and socioeconomic vulnerabilities as key drivers. These drivers are embedded in intricate processes of down- scaling and up-scaling among diverse actors. This study contributes to the literature on scale jumping in political ecology and demonstrates how global forces interact with local processes to shape environmental degradation.