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Ghana Forest Figures

Forest Cover
Total forest area: 5,517,000 ha
% of land area: 24.2%

Primary forest cover: 353,000 ha
% of land area: 1.5%
% total forest area: 6.4%

Deforestation Rates, 2000-2005
Annual change in forest cover: -115,400 ha
Annual deforestation rate: -2.0%
Change in defor. rate since '90s: 4.2%
Total forest loss since 1990: -1,931,000 ha
Total forest loss since 1990:-25.9%

Primary or "Old-growth" forests
Annual loss of primary forests: n/a
Annual deforestation rate: n/a
Change in deforestation rate since '90s: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990:0.0%

Forest Classification
Public: 100%
Private: 0%
Other: 0%
Production: 22.7%
Protection: 6.4%
Conservation: 0.8%
Social services: 1.2%
Multiple purpose: n/a
None or unknown: 68.9

Forest Area Breakdown
Total area: 5,517,000 ha
Primary: 353,000 ha
Modified natural: 5,004,000 ha
Semi-natural: n/a
Production plantation: 160,000 ha
Production plantation: n/a

Plantations, 2005: 160,000 ha
% of total forest cover: 2.9%
Annual change rate (00-05): 20,000,000 ha

Carbon storage
Above-ground biomass: 726 M t
Below-ground biomass: 267 M t

Area annually affected by
Fire: n/a
Insects: n/a
Diseases: n/a

Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Number of native tree species: 680
Critically endangered: 3
Endangered: 19
Vulnerable: 94

Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood: 1,205,000 m3 o.b.
Wood fuel: 28,253,000 m3 o.b.

Value of forest products, 2005
Industrial roundwood: $31,265,000
Wood fuel: n/a
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs): n/a
Total Value: $31,265,000

More forest statistics for Ghana

Ghana has one of the stronger economies of sub-Sahara Africa due to its array of natural resources. However, the exploitation of these resources, coupled with the overall lack of environmental awareness, has devastated the country's forests. In less than 50 years, Ghana's primary rainforest has been reduced by 90 percent, while in the past 15 years (1990-2005), the country lost 1.9 million hectares or 26 percent of its forest cover.

Subsistence agriculture and cutting for fuelwood is common throughout Ghana and worsening due to a population growth rate approaching 3 percent. Logging and the pursuit of gold have also proved costly to the country's natural areas.

Forest loss in Ghana has exacerbated droughts and bushfires. In 1997 and 1998, widespread bushfires led the government to step up its anti-bushfire campaign, but the reform had little effect. Desert is encroaching on some deforested lands and soil erosion is rampant. The economic development of Ghana has come at a great cost to its forests and environment.

On a more positive note, Ghana is host to Kakum National Park, which attracts thousands of visitors every year. The park's main draw is its canopy walkway and the forest's diverse array of wildlife, including monkeys, bongos, and forest elephants. Kakum is one of the last isolated fragments of rainforest that once extended across West Africa. In total, about 15 percent of Ghana's land area is under some form of protection, though the government still struggles with enforcement. Despite these difficulties, the government has taken an active role in trying to curb logging. After its 1995 log export ban, the government has actively pushed plantation development projects in degraded forest lands to reduce the pressure on natural forests. The efforts yielded a 44 percent decline in log exports between 1994 and 1997.

According to data from the World Resources Institute, Ghana has 3,725 species of plants, 729 birds, 222 mammals, 131 reptiles, and 90 fish.

Recent articles

Forest protection could earn tens of millions for Ghana -- 11/06/2006
Ghana could earn tens of millions of dollars for reducing its deforestation rate under a carbon-trading initiative proposed by a coalition of developing countries and under discussion this week at U.N. climate talks in Nairobi, Kenya.

Recent articles | Ghana news updates | XML

Suggested reading - Books
Unless otherwise specified, this article was written by Rhett A. Butler [Bibliographic citation for this page]

Other resources

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Last updated: 4 Feb 2006