Due to the shortcomings of state control over forests, participatory approaches to managing forests have evolved. However, the motivation for people to participate voluntarily in forest management has received less research attention in Ghana. This research examined what motivated the fringe communities of the Suhuma Forest Reserve in Ghana to participate in its management. The study was designed to be consistent with the convergent parallel mixed methods. In this regard, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected at the same time to determine the motivation of the communities to participate in the management of the reserve. The qualitative data were obtained through focus group discussions with members of Community Forest Committees. The quantitative data were also obtained through a survey of 112 households (half of whom were members of Community Forest Committees) selected from 12 fringe communities. Analyses of the data revealed that participation in the management of the reserve was through voluntary Community Forest Committees. Access to the forest reserve for non-timber products, and the hope of getting degraded portions of the forest to farm were the factors that motivated the members of the Community Forest Committees to participate voluntarily in the management of the forest reserve. However, the Committees complained about the lack of motivational packages, inadequate logistics and non-response to requests for assistance from the Forest Services Division, but the need for farmlands has kept them on. The study recommends that the committees should be motivated by allocating the degraded sections of the forest to them for tree-crop planting, which could not only contribute to the restoration and sustenance of the forest reserve but also serve as a source of livelihood for the members of the Committees.
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Vol. 20 • No. 1