Peace Resources? Governing Liberia's Forests in the Aftermath of Conflict

Document Type


Publication Date



Environmental Studies



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International Peacekeeping


Natural resources represent both peril and promise for peacebuilding. Natural resources can support economic recovery and sustainable livelihoods, and contribute to trust and cooperation frequently lacking in war-torn societies. Natural resources can also catalyse social disputes and provide revenue for would-be insurgents. Recognition that natural resources can be an opportunity and challenge for peace has led international peacebuilders to intervene in post-conflict countries to establish governance reforms that promote sustainable peace and development. This article examines international efforts to govern natural resources in the aftermath of conflict. Specifically, it focuses on Liberia, where timber was recognized as a key factor in fuelling the decade-long civil war; and as a result, forest reform was a peacebuilding priority. I argue that although there have been some positive results, the forest reform process has been controversial in part due to international interventions that mirror pre-war forest governance arrangements in which patronage and corruption historically took root and work to rekindle past sources of tension. I suggest that international peacebuilders should not see themselves as interveners but conveners that use natural resource governance as a way to build confidence and serve as a foundation for cooperation and peace.


Published as:
Beevers, Michael D. "Peace Resources? Governing Liberia's Forests in the Aftermath of Conflict." International Peacekeeping 22, no. 1 (2015): 26-42.

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