Local perceptions of the socio-demographic changes triggered by large-scale plantation forests: Evidence from rural communities in Northern Province of Sierra Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Global concerns about forest sustainability have shifted the attention to plantation forests as a potential candidate to fill the wood and ecosystem service demand. In this regard, their contribution to lessening the pressure on natural forests has been recognized, and this is becoming increasingly important in the context of a changing climate. This study was designed to conceptualize the influence of large-scale plantation forests on changes in the socio-demographic characteristics in local communities. A mixed-method approach combining qualitative data from two key informant interviews with a household survey of 125 respondents was deployed to explore the local perceptions of the influence of plantation forestry on socio-demographic changes. Our results revealed mixed perceptions of the socio-demographic changes, reflecting both increasing and decreasing trends. All of the socio-demographic factors were positively influenced in a societal desired manner by plantation forestry, except household income and construction materials. The socio-demographic factors were identified as the principal determinants shaping the plantation forestry's contribution to the socio-economic development of respondents’ households. The direction of socio-demographic changes was reported to be positive across all the communities, with the magnitude of influence on the respondent's households varying between low and high. Our results suggest the need for understanding the dynamics associated with land use conversion to forest plantations in rural areas to inspire the search for options to implement an integrated landscape approach for tree plantation development with minimal social impacts on local populations.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100694
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Challenges
Issue number100694
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Large-scale plantation forests, Local perceptions, Socio-demographic changes, Rural areas, Sierra Leone