Tree based supply chains (SC) are key for the livelihoods of millions of people in Sub Saharan Africa. These SC mostly operate within the informal sector and involves the harvesting, processing, and marketing of a range of forest based products: timber, energy wood, and non-timber forest products (NTFP - e.g. food products, medicine etc.). The produce is mostly consumed in Africa and involve tens of millions of, mostly poor, people in the supply chains, and affect about 600 million consumers.
These quantities, where energy is the main use, account for almost 90% of all forest harvests on the continent. However, the forest situation is not sustainable and Africa accounts for 80% of the global net deforestation. Sustainable supply chains for forest products would contribute to more stable forest conditions and less GHG emissions, while securing income and affordable forest products for the future. We study the conditions for sustainable supply chains among poor SC actors. The SC structure and members' resources, capabilities, and institutional factors that promote sustainable and livelihood-improving value chains, are analysed. The study is based on sustainable livelihoods models, theories on resources and capabilities and operations management. Two locations ̶ in Kenya and Burkina Faso ̶ are studied with a participatory research design, and quantitative, qualitative and observations approaches. The research will benefit SC actors directly, policymakers and cooperation agencies.