Fotograaf: onbekend

mw. dr. M.A.F. (Mirjam) Ros-Tonen

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Governance and Inclusive Development
  • Bezoekadres
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: B4.05
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  15629
    1001 NC  Amsterdam
    T: 0205254179


Name: Mirjam A.F. Ros-Tonen

Academic status: Associate Professor at the Dept. of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies and Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research / Governance and Inclusive Development Group (AISSR-GID)

Nationality: Dutch

Place and date of birth: Utrecht, 26 December 1956

Marital status: Married, two children (23, 21)


I am a human geographer with a PhD in Policy Sciences who is currently working at the University of Amsterdam as an associate professor. As a researcher, I am engaged in research on forest use and governance in Brazilian Amazonia, Ghana and Indonesia and supervising several PhD students in this field. My specific research interests include forest governance and management, environmental discourses, forest-based livelihoods and non-timber forest products. As a lecturer, I am responsible for teaching in the 'Environment and Sustainable Development' and 'Quality of Life' courses at bachelor level and the master courses 'Sustaining the Future: Environment and Development in the Global South' and 'Governance of the Commons', as well as supervising research and thesis projects of master students. I was coordinator of the Development Policy Review Network from 2004 until its closure as from 1 March 2011 and as such I was responsible for creating the conditions in which Dutch and Flemish development experts from different sectors meet, search for common ground and create synergies. I ran a consultancy firm for science writing and editing before I joined the University of Amsterdam in 2005, and this is still noticeable in the value that I attach to making research results accessible to policymakers and the general public through infosheets and policy briefs. In 2005 and 2006 I was affiliated researcher (pesquisadora associada) to the Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos (NAEA) of the Federal University of Pará in Belém, Brazil, and I was visiting professor at the Postgraduate Programme in Environmental Sciences of the University of São Paulo/ (USP-PROCAM) from June-September 2009, and visiting scholar at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor. Indonesia, from April-July 2014.


  • Basic Higher Education Qualification (BKO), University of Amsterdam
  • PhD in Policy Sciences at the University of Nijmegen (Thesis: "Tropical hardwood from the Brazilian Amazon. A study of the timber industry in Western Pará ") (1993)
  • MSc in Human Geography of Developing Countries at the University of Nijmegen  (1984)


  • Self-employed as science writer and editorial consultant, specialised in the ghost writing of policy documents and desk studies, in making research results accessible to policymakers and the general public, and in providing editorial assistance to PhD students (1999-2005)
  • Senior researcher at the University of Amsterdam, at the Amsterdam research institute for Global Issues and Development Studies (AGIDS) (2002-2004) 
    Programme and PR Officer at the Tropenbos Foundation , Wageningen, the Netherlands ; coordinator of non-timber forest product research (1992-1999)
  • PhD researcher at the Department of Policy Sciences at the University of Nijmegen (PhD thesis:: "Tropical hardwood from the Brazilian Amazon") (1987-1993)
  • Staff-member at the Third World Centre in The Hague , the Netherlands ; Educational and information activities on development issues, with a focus on agriculture and gender (1987-1988)
  • Researcher at the Centro Educacional Assistencial Integrado (CEAI), Holambra (SP), Brazil, Research into the needs for training courses and cultural activities amongst the people living in an Agricultural Colony of Dutch immigrants (1985-1986)


  • Inclusive commodity chains, partnerships and innovation platforms: increasing food sovereignty in tree crop systems in Ghana and South Africa (WOTRO-financed). Project description
  • See PhD projects.


  • Governance for sustainable forest-related livelihoods in Ghana's High Forest Zone: Exchange programme for MSc and PhD students between the University of Amsterdam/AISSR, TBI-Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Development (KNUST) aimed at generating insight into and formulating re-commendations on governance arrangements and conflict resolution mechanisms that enhance forest-related livelihoods so that they contribute to sustainable forest management and poverty alleviation (cf. Millennium Development Goals 1 and 7) (completed in 2013)
  • Participatory land-use planning to promote sustainable oil-palm production in West Kalimantan (with NGO and academic partners coordinated by Both Ends) (completed in 2013).


Environment and Sustainable Development, bachelors, 6 ECT (with Dr. Maarten Bavinck)

Kwaliteit van Leven (Quality of Life), 6 ECT, bachelors Future Planet studies (with drs. Jaap Rothuizen and drs. Lucas Rutting)

Environment, Development and Conflict: masters and research masters IDS, 9 ECT (with Dr. Maarten Bavinck)

Policy & Practice seminar,  masters IDS, 3 ECT (with Ir Yves van Leynseele)

Thesis seminar, masters and research masters IDS, 3 ECT (with Dr Jacobijn  Olthoff)

MSc thesis supervision, various projects 



  • Member editotial board Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie


Google Citations Index: i10-index 16 (i.e. 16 papers that have at least 10 citations) :

RG Score 15.48 See


Ingram, V., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. and Dietz. T. (2015). A fine mess: Bricolaged forest governance in Cameroon. International Journal of the Commons 9(1).

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F, Derkyi, M, and Insaidoo, T. (2014). From co-management to landscape governance: Whither Ghana’s modified taungya system? Forests  5: 2996-3021; doi:10.3390/f5122996

Quaedvlieg, J., Garcia Roca, M. and ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2014). Amazon nut certification a way towards smallholder empowerment in Peruvian Amazonia?  Journal of Rural Studies 33: 41-55..

Wiersum, K.F., Ingram, V.J. and ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2013). Governing access to resources and markets in non-timber forest product chains.  Forests, Trees and Livelihoods. [ahead of print]. DOI: 10.1080/14728028.2013.868676.

Derkyi, M, ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Kyereh, B. and Dietz, T. (2013). FIghting over forest: Towards a shared analysis of forest conflicts and conflict management in Ghana. Society and Natural Resources, 27(3), 281-298.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Insaidoo, T.F.G., Acheampong, E. (2013). Promising start, bleak outlook: The role of Ghana's modified taungya system as a social safeguard in timber legality processes. Forest Policy and Economics 32: 57-67. URL:

Derkyi, M., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Kyereh, B. and Dietz, T. (2013). Emerging forest regimes and livelihoods in the Tano Offin forest reserve, Ghana: Implications for social safeguards. Forest Policy and Economics 32: 49-56. URL:

Insaidoo, T.F.G., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. and Acheampong, E. (2013). On-Farm tree planting in Ghana's high forest zone: The need to consider carbon payments. Pp. 437-463 in  R. Muradian and L. Rival (Eds.). Governing the provision of ecosystem services. Heidelberg: Springer Publishers.  

Arts, B., Bommel, S., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Verchoor, G. (eds.) (2012). Forest-People Interfaces. Understanding Community Forestry and Bio-Cultural Diversity . Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers. 

Arts, B., Bommel, S., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Verchoor, G. (2012). Forest-People Interfaces: From local perspectives to global concern. Pp. 5-28 in  Arts, B., Bommel, S., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Verchoor, G. (eds.) (2012). Forest-People Interfaces. Understanding Community Forestry and Bio-Cultural Diversity . Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers. 

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2012). Non-timber forest product extraction as a productive bricolage process. Pp. 29-48 in Arts, B., Bommel, S., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Verchoor, G. (eds.) (2012). Forest-People Interfaces. Understanding Community Forestry and Bio-Cultural Diversity . Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers. 

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. and Kusters, K. (2011b). Governance for Non-Timber Forest Products. In: N.R.M. Pouw and I.S.A. Baud (eds.) Local Governance and Poverty in Developing Countries . New York: Routledge.

De Vries and ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2011). Bridging Knowledge Divides. The Role of the Development Policy Review Network in Strengthening Research-Policy Linkages. In: Hoebink, P. (ed.). The Netherlands YearbookonInternational Cooperation 2009. Assen: Van Gorcum.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F and Kusters, K. (2011a). Pro-poor Governance of Non-Timber Forest Products:The Need for Secure Tenure, theRule of Law, Market Access and Partner¬ships. Pp. 189-207 in: S. Shackleton, C. Shackleton and P. Shanley (eds.) Non-Timber Forest Products in the Global Context. Tropical Forest Series. Heidelberg: Springer Publishers.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2010). 'Changing Prospects for Sustainable Forestry inBrazilian Amazonia: Exploring New Trends', Pp. 139-153 in P. van Lindert and O. Verkoren (eds.) Decentralized Development in Latin America. Experiences in Local Governance and Local Development, GeoJournal Library 97,Dordrecht / Heidelberg: Springer Publishers. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-3739-8_10.

Berman Arévalo, E. and ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2009).  Discourses, Power Negotiations and Indigenous Political Organization in Forest Partnerships: The Case of Selva de Matavén, Colombia . Human Ecology 37(6): 733-747.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. and Werneck, A.F. (2009). 'Small-scale Tourism Development in Brazilian Amazonia: The Creation of a 'Tourist Bubble'', European Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 86: 59-79.

Kusters, K., Ruiz-Pérez, M., De Foresta, H., Dietz, T., ROS-TONEN, M., Belcher, B., Manalu, P., Nawir, A., Wollenberg, L. (2008). 'Will Agroforests Vanish? The Case of Damar Agroforests in Indonesia'. Human Ecology 36(3): 357-370.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Andel, T. van, Morsello, C., Otsuki, K., Rosendo, S.and Scholz, I. (2008).'Forest-related partnershipsin Brazilian Amazonia: there is more to sustainable forest management than reduced impact logging'. Forest Ecology and Management 256: 1482-1497.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2007). Novas Perspectivas para a gestão sustentável da Floresta Amazônia:Explorando NovosCaminhos. Ambiente e Sociedade (Campinas SP, Brazil) 10(1): 11-25.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (ed.) (in collaboration with H. van den Hombergh and A. Zoomers) (2007). Partnerships in Sustainable Forest Resource Management: Learning from Latin America. CLAS Series. Leiden/Boston: Brill Publishers.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Hombergh. H. van den and Zoomers, E.B. (2007). 'Partnerships for Sustainable Forest and Tree Resource Management in Latin America: The New Road towards Successful Forest Governance?' Pp. 4-35 in M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (ed.): Partnerships in Sustainable Forest Resource Management: Learning from Latin America. CLAS Series. Leiden/Boston: Brill Publishers.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. and Dietz, T. (eds.) (2005). African Forests between Nature and Livelihood Resources. Interdisciplinary Studies in Conservation and Forest Management. African Studies No. 81. Lewinston/Queenston/Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Zaal, F. and Dietz, T. (2005). 'Reconciling Conservation Goals and Livelihood Needs: New Forest Management Perspectives in 21st Century'. In: M.A.F. Ros-Tonen and T. Dietz (eds.) African Forests between Nature and Livelihood Resources. Interdisciplinary Studies in Conservation and Forest Management. African Studies No. 81. Lewinston/Queenston/Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, pp. 3-30.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. Tonen, Dietz, T., Adano, W.R. and Njogu, J.G. (2005). 'Sustainable Forests and Livelihoods: Romantic Illusion or Environ¬mental and Social Necessity?' In : M.A.F. Ros-Tonen and T. Dietz (eds.) African Forests between Nature and Livelihood Resources. Interdisciplinary Studies in Conservation and Forest Management. African StudiesNo. 81.Lewinston/Queenston/Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, pp. 393-420.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. and Wiersum, K.F. (2005). 'The Scope of Improving Rural Livelihoods through Non-TimberForest Products: An Evolving Research Agenda'. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 15(2): 129-148.

Kusters, K., ROS-TONEN, M.A.F., Top, G. van der and Dietz, T. (2001). 'The Potential Contribution of Non-Timber Forest Product Extraction to Tropical Forest Conservation: Lessons from a Case Study of Bamboo Utilisation in a Sierra Madre Community, the Philippines'. Journal of Bamboo and Rattan Research 1: 77-94.

ROS-TONEN, M.A.F. (2000). 'The Role of Non-Timber Forest Products in Sustainable Tropical Forest Management'.Holz als Roh-und Werkstoff 58: 196-201.

Professional publications

Insaidoo, T.F.G., Ros-Tonen, M.A.F., Hoogenbosch, L. and Acheampong, E. (2012).  Addressing forest degradation and timber deficits.  ETFRN News 53: 230-239. [Special Issue Moving forward with forest governance]. 
Derkyi, M., Ros-Tonen, M.A.F., Dietz, T. and Kyereh, B. (2012).   Interactive forest governance for conflict management in Ghana. ETFRN News 53: 19-28. [Special Issue  Moving forward with forest governance]. 

Ros-Tonen, M.A.F. (2011). Forest products-Non-timber. In S. Fredericks, L. Shen, S. Thompson & D. Vasey (Eds.), Natural Resources and Sustainability  (The Encyclopedia of Sustainability, Vol. 4) (pp. 163-167). Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

Ros-Tonen, M.A.F., de Vries, K., Kusters, K., and Donner, J. (2011). Linking to learn & Learning from linking. Lessons from Eight years of DPRN. Amsterdam: DPRN (63 pp.).

Ros-Tonen, M.A.F. and Wiersum, K.F. (2007). Forest-based Poverty Alleviation and theMillennium Development Goals, ETFRN News 47-48: 33-36.

Ros-Tonen, M. (2006) Tropical forest governance: dealing with increasing complexity. IIFM Communique 8(2): 4-7. 
Wiersum, K.F.and Ros-Tonen, M.A.F (2005). The Role of Forests in Poverty Alleviation: Dealing with Multiple Millennium Development Goals, North-South Policy Brief 2005-6: 1-7.  

Aenne Post

Aenne Post

Theme: Wetland management near Lake Victoria, Kenya:howtocombine hippos with livelihoods.
Co-promotor, with Prof. Dr. Ton Dietz 

Expected graduation: Amsterdam 2014

Aenne Post studied human geography at theUniversity of Amsterdam, and graduated with a price-winning MSc thesis about "hippos, nothing but a nuisance". She worked at the Municipality of Amsterdam before joining AMIDSt for a PhD study about her beloved hippos.


Overall objecives of the PhD study:

  • To clarify the nature of conflicts between humans and 'problem animal species' like hippos and crocodiles;
  • To compare the wildlife management strategies pursued in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa;
  • To identify the conditions for successful wildlife management strategies in wetlands.

Research questions:

  • What kinds of human-wildlife conflicts occur in fresh-water wetlands in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa and who are affected by these conflicts?
  • What wildlife management policies and strategies are followed in the three countries and how have these evolved over the past century?
  • What institutions and actors play a role in wildlife management and how has this role changed under current tendencies of decentralisation, devolution and privatisation?
  • What factors can be identified that make wildlife management successful in terms of maintaining wildlife populations, controlling wildlife-induced damage and promoting democraticgovernance?

Peggy Somuah

Theme:   Participatory spatial knowledge management and knowledge brokering in multilevel governance: mechanisms for community empowerment in Ghana’s high forest zone

Co-promotor, with Prof. dr. Joyeeta Gupta and Prof. dr. Isa Baud

Expected graduation: Amsterdam 2017.

Peggy Dorcas Somuah has a Master degree in  Natural Resource Management from the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom. Prior to being awarded a Nuffic PhD scholarship she worked as a programme officer with CONADEF in Ghana and as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coordinator of the World Vision-Ghana Rural Water Project (GRWP).

Overall objective of the PhD study: To provide insight into and develop terms for community empowerment through participatory spatial knowledge management and knowledge brokering in Ghana’s high forest zone in a context of multilevel forest governance  

Research questions: Overall research question: How can forest fringe communities in Ghana’s high forest zone be empowered through participatory spatial knowledge management and knowledge brokering in multilevel governance processes addressing forest conservation? 


1. How and under what terms is local spatial knowledge on forest conservation in Ghana’s high forest zone produced and managed and by whom?

2. How does participatory spatial knowledge management (e.g. p-mapping and PGIS) affect the terms of inclusion in local spatial knowledge production?

3. How and under what terms of inclusion is local spatial knowledge exchanged in multilevel governance and what role do knowledge brokering and boundary organisations play in these processes?

4. What are the terms of inclusion under which the use of participatory spatial knowledge in multilevel governance can contribute to community empowerment?

To answer these questions, the research adopts a multiple case study design in which two protected Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) in Ghana’s high forest zone will be investigated.

Simone Lovera

Theme: REDD+, its agents and its place in international forest policy

Co-promotor, with Prof. dr. Joyeeta Gupta

Expected graduation: Amsterdam  2017

Ms Simone Lovera has a LL.M. and MSc in International law and Dutch law, with specialisations in international environmental law and environmental studies. Being a professional manager and coalition-builder, she has extensive experience in international environmental policymaking. Ms Simone Lovera is based in Paraguay as director of the Global Forest Coalition. 
Overall objective of the PhD study: The objective of the research is to contribute to the international search for coherent, socially and environmentally effective, economically efficient and equitable policies to address deforestation and forest degradation by analysing the role of agents in shaping the REDD+ regime, the economic interests, influence and knowledge base that motivated them, and the implications this might have regarding the potential risks and flaws of REDD+ as a new forest policy regime. 
The research will go beyond regular analysis of REDD+ from a practical forestry sector perspective and analyse to what extent the flaws and dilemma’s in the current REDD+ regime are a result of the positioning and basic design of the regime itself, and the economic interests and ideology of the agents that promoted this new forest policy regime, while so many other forest policy forums had already developed a very comprehensive, and partly duplicating global forest policy regime.

Research questions:

Which actors were instrumental in promoting the inclusion of REDD+ as a new international forest policy regime in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and why?


1. Which actors have promoted the inclusion of REDD+ as a forest regime in the climate regime? 

2. How do different agents expect REDD+ will work out in comparison to existing international forest policy regimes in terms of social and environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency and equity? 

3. How does the design of REDD+ as a performance-based, carbon market-oriented forest regime promote the interests, influence and/or ideology of these actors? 

4. How can the risks of REDD+ be addressed by alternative approaches developed by the climate justice and other alterglobalist movements?

To answer these questions, the study combines literature review with a legal review of relevant international agreements, content legal and policy documents, direct observation of the negotiation dynamics in a large number of intergovernmental and other REDD+ related meetings and interviews with key stakeholders.

Gamma Galudra

Theme: Forest governmentality and social safeguards in REDD+ governance in Indonesia

Co-promotor, with Prof. dr. Joyeeta Gupta

Expected graduation: Amsterdam  2017

In the context of global REDD+ negotiations, 'social safeguards' refer to respect for the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and local communities, effective stakeholder participation, and enhancement of social benefits. Yet, there is a lack of knowledge on how 'social safeguards' can help achieve inclusive development. This research investigates the strategies of the state and other actors to negotiate, contest and implement 'social safeguards', making use of the forest governmentality (or environmentality) concept. Drawing on Agrawal (2005), Bose (2012), and Arts & Visseren-Hamakers (2012), this concept refers to the process of environmental subject-making and creating forest-related identities in environmental politics. Based on a layered case study in Indonesia, the research expects to generate generalizable conclusion about the relationship between forest governmentality, social safeguards and inclusive development. The question in this thesis is what is the role of social safeguard in REDD+ to achieve inclusive development and how does forest governmentality play an important role in achieving this?



Mr. Gamma Galudra’s main research interests are in tenure rights and power relationship, land governance and social safeguards. He has a BSc degree on Forestry from Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia) and an MSc degree on Forest Management from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). He is affiliated to the World Agroforestry Centre in Bogor, Indonesia, since 2003 and actively involved in tenure conflict and power relationship research. He is the leading author for the Rapid Land Tenure Assessment (RaTA) that has been tested and applied for forest and land conflict resolution for in a number of sites in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cameroon ( 

His other major expertise is on low emission development policies. He co-developed Land Use Planning for the Low Emission Development Strategy (LUWES), a platform for developing a multiple stakeholder decision-making process to establish land-use plans for sustainable development (

As far as social safeguards are concerned, he is leading the work on integrating social safeguards in land-use planning, monitoring, and evaluation. This work is still in process and currently being tested in Papua and South Sumatra, Indonesia, funded by EU and DANIDA (

Gamma is currently leading a three-year project in Jambi funded by the Margareth A. Cargill Foundation (MACF) 2013-2015. Previously, he led a project in Jambi, West Sumatra (Sumatra) and Gorontalo (Sulawesi) on the issue of sustainable livelihoods for low-carbon emission development and carbon rights and legality in Indonesia, funded by the Climate Land Use Alliance (CLUA) 2011-2012.



Verina Ingram

Verina Ingram

Theme:  non-timber forest products and livelihoods in Cameroon.

Co-promotor, with Prof. dr. Ton Dietz

Graduated: Amsterdam, 18 March 2014.

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as nuts, leaves, resins, barks and honey have medicinal, food, energy, tool and cultural uses. Verina Ingram's PhD thesis, entitled 'Win-wins in forest product value chains? How governance impacts the sustainability of livelihoods based on non-timber forest products from Cameroon',  examines eight such NTFP value chains from Cameroon, sold locally and exported worldwide. The study shows that their combined value is over 32 million US$ annually, more than previously realised. Around 34,000 people, including harvesters and traders, derive income from this trade. Multiple arrangements govern access to species and markets in these chains: formal statutory regulations, customary traditions, market-based rules, projects, international agreements and corruption. The mix and intensity of these arrangements results in trade-offs between livelihoods, product and chain sustainability. Wins - generally shorter-term socio-economic benefits - are gained by different chain participants. Losses occur in the long term to the species from which the products are derived due to unsustainable harvesting. Focusing on formal regulations alone in the current socio-political and economic contexts in the Congo Basin does not guarantee sustainable chains. Complementary, plural arrangements are shown to be more effective. They provide bundles of rights and responsibilities governing a species, its ecological niche, chain activities and benefits. Making chains sustainable depends on the mix of arrangements, and the ability, resourcefulness and power of participants to ‘bricole’ new governance arrangements and replace ineffective institutions, such as corruption. Poor and vulnerable groups gained more control and value when aided by statutory, project and market initiatives. Apiculture chains appear both sustainable and positive for livelihoods. The Prunus africana and Gnetum chains are positive for livelihoods but less sustainable. 

Verina has a  Master degree in Science in Environmental Technology (Distinction) from Imperial College, Centre for Environmental Technology in London. She has o ver 15 years working experience with governments, NGOs, business and communities in Africa, Western-Central & Eastern Europe and Asia. Being an experienced adviser and manager of projects and teams in collaborative natural resources management and market development and with excellent organisational, communication and process facilitation skills, Verina finds challenges in policy development, institutional strengthening, training, capacity building and reaching creative,practicalsolutions. In 2008 she started working for CIFOR-Cameroon in the framework of which her PhD study has been carried out. Verina currently works as senior researcher at the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) of Wageningen University & Research Centres.




Mercy Derkyi

Mercy Derkyi

Theme: Fighting over forest  in Ghana

Co-promotor,with Prof. Dr.Ton Dietz

Graduation: Amsterdam, 27 September 2012

Conflicts over forests and trees are the order of the day in Ghana's high forest zone. This not only adversely affects local people's livelihoods but also complicates good forest governance. Conflict management should therefore be recognised as a key building block of forest governance, argues Mercy Derkyi in her PhD thesis entitled 'Fighting over forest - Interactive governance of conflicts over forest and tree resources in Ghana's high forest zone'.

Mercy Derkyi argues that the complexity and dynamics of forest use and management inevitably lead to conflicts. For a proper understanding of these conflicts and the ways in which they can be managed, she investigated conflicts under eight different forest governance regimes, using a rich blend of theories on interactive governance, political ecology, conflicts, conflict management and forest-related livelihoods. 

Derkyi makes a case for the integration of non-violent conflict management strategies into forest policy and management as a key to ensuring better forest governance. 

Mercy Derkyi holds a BSc and MSc from the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology inKumasi, Ghana. Her bachelor thesis was concerned with the evaluation of public parks for outdoor recreation purposes in Kumasi Metropolis. Her Masters thesis dealt with agroforestry as a sustainable land use system in Ghana, and described the case studies of Atwima and Offinso Districts. During her PhD study, Mercy was  affiliated to the Tropenbos International-Ghana Programme, which provided a scholarship for research. Mercy has previously worked as a consultant: building capacity of local communities in forestry and agroforestry, research into sustainable community management and assessment of livelihood support schemes. As a director of an enviromental NGO, she also promoted and developed community ecotourism.

Koen Kusters

Koen Kusters

Non-timber forest product trade: A trade-off between conservation and development. A global comparison of livelihood and environmental outcomes of NTFP trade systems and a case studyof the damar agroforests in Sumatra, Indonesia (September 2009).

Co-promotor, with Prof. Dr. Dietz, Dr. Brian Belcher (Royal Roads University, Canada) and Dr. Manuel Ruiz Perez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain).  

Koen Kusters (Ulicoten, 1975) studied Human Geography at the University of Amsterdam. Between 2002 and 2006 he worked as a researcher at the Center for InternationalForestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor,Indonesia. For CIFOR he conducted research in Vietnam , India, Lao PDR, China and Indonesia. He also has working experience in Brazil,the Philippines and Tanzania. In January 2009 he finalized his PhD dissertation on the relation between forest product trade, conservation and development. In 2009 he started working as a freelance research journalist for Wereld in Woorden - Global Research and Reporting.

Overall objective of thePhD study:

To provide insight into the possibilities of NTFP trade to contribute to conservation and development objectives.

Research question:

To what extent, and under what conditions, can NTFP trade contribute to development and forest conservation objectives?

Josefien Demmer & Han Overman

Indigenous People. Conserving the Rain Forest? The Effect of Wealth and Markets on the Economic Behaviour of Tawahka Amerindians in Honduras (November 2001).

Co-promotor, with Ton Dietz and Annelies Zoomers.

After studying biology at the University of AmsterdamJosefien Demmer and Han Overman decided to join an American research team for a study about the impact of modernisation on Amerindians in Central America and on their ecological habitats. Although their research resulted in high-profile co-publications (even in Nature ) they could not graduate there and decided to come back to the Netherlands to do so. Caught between biology and social sciences they found it difficult to find a promotor and finally came to theGeography Department at the University ofAmsterdam.

TBI-Ghana project

Dwindling forest resources, a myriad of actors with competing interests and claims, and emerging governance initiatives such as the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) pose enormous challenges as regards the governance of Ghana's forest resources. Tropenbos International Ghana, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) took up the challenge of generating knowledge needed to improve governanceand conflict management for sustainable forest-related livelihoods.        

Thematic focus
Since the inception of the project in 2008, it has focused on: 
• The role of forest resources in the livelihoods of forest-adjacent people;
• governance arrangements that hinder or enhance the poverty alleviating potential of forest and tree resources; and
• The conflicts that occur in relation to forest and tree resources and the mechanisms available to minimise them.  
The aim is to contribute knowledge for improved forest governance and forest-dependent livelihoods.  

Project components  
The project integrates research and capacity building. Two Ghanaian PhD students are conducting research on forest governance in Ghana's High Forest Zone. Thomas Insaidoo (Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources - KNUST) is doing so with a focus on governance innovations that help improve forest and tree-related livelihoods, while Mercy Derkyi (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research - UvA) is concentrating on forest-related livelihood conflicts and conflict management.  
The project also provided opportunities to Ghanaian MSc students to receive three  months of training at the University of Amsterdam, and to UvA students in Human Geography and International Development Studies to gain fieldwork experience within the framework of the Tropenbos Ghana programme. See the infosheets and theses below for more information.





  • B. Arts, S. van Bommel, M. Ros-Tonen & G. Verschoor (2012). Forest-people interfaces: from local creativity to global concern. In B. Arts, S. van Bommel, M. Ros-Tonen & G. Verschoor (Eds.), Forest-people interfaces: understanding community forestry and bio-cultural diversity (pp. 15-26). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • M. Ros-Tonen (2012). Non-timber forest product extraction as a productive bricolage process. In B. Arts, S. van Bommel, M. Ros-Tonen & G. Verschoor (Eds.), Forest-people interfaces: understanding community forestry and bio-cultural diversity (pp. 29-48). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • M. Ros-Tonen & K. Kusters (2012). Governance for nontimber forest products. In N. Pouw & I. Baud (Eds.), Local governance and poverty in developing nations (Routledge studies in development and society, 31) (pp. 97-115). New York: Routledge.











  • M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (2010, June 24). Introduction: Governing REDD: How to Make Sure that Forest Communities benefit? Lessons from Forest Governance Research. The Hague, Paper presented at the CERES Summer School.
  • M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (2010). Organiser of CERES Summer School session on ‘Governing REDD: How to Make Sure that Forest Communities benefit? Lessons from Forest Governance Research.
  • M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (2010). Organiser of CERES Summer School session on ‘Changing roles And Meaning of International Cooperation - Implications for the Research Agenda and Infrastructure.


  • M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (2013). NWO/WOTRO grant for research Inclusive business-smallholder partnerships in Ghana and South Africa. Recognition.


  • M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (Ed.). (2013) Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie.
  • M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (Ed.). (2009) The Broker.
  • M.A.F. Ros-Tonen (Ed.). (2009) Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie.


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