FLARE’s research in Liberia, supported by the NASA, aims to estimate the environmental and livelihood impacts of agricultural and forestry concessions. FLARE researcher Suhyun Jung traveled to Liberia in January to facilitate collaboration with in-country partners, understand the overall country context, test our survey instruments, and cross-check some of our findings from existing survey data in Liberia.
The trip resulted in three outcomes: (1) Suhyun obtained more information on data types and availability, as well as contact information for key people within the National Bureau of Concessions, Ministry of Agriculture, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, and Forest Development Authority. The University of Liberia, in particular, is very interested in facilitating collaboration with the University of Michigan FLARE researchers. (2) Suhyun gained a better understanding of the mechanisms through which concessions have impacts on livelihoods in Liberia. He visited forestry and agricultural concession sites and tested our survey instrument, which will contribute to subsequent modifications of the survey questions. (3) Suhyun conducted focus group interviews with villagers living around two types of logging concessions. Through these interviews, Suhyun observed some impacts from logging concessions, which are consistent with the FLARE research team’s preliminary findings from analyses of existing household surveys.