By 2030, 24 African countries pledge to restore 100 million hectares of land. To some, this might sound like utopia. For us, it is reality, and *it.is.happening* !
Read more about this amazing initiative:
By 2030, 24 African countries pledge to restore 100 million hectares of land. To some, this might sound like utopia. For us, it is reality, and *it.is.happening* !
Read more about this amazing initiative:
Caleb Ofori-Boateng and Bright Kankam
Contribute to the development of a mathematical modelling framework that can bring functional diversity into representation of tropical African forests in ecosystem models
Earth is currently experiencing its strongest El Niño for many decades. Such events lead to a carbon source in the tropical land biosphere, but the exact mechanism of this carbon source is poorly described and quantified. This study would provide the clearest picture yet available of the main mechanisms of carbon cycle perturbation within intact tropical biomes, information that will be used to directly inform and test carbon cycle sensitivities in global biosphere models
Stephen Adu-Bredu, Yadvinder Malhi, Christopher Doughty
In Ghana, there is hardly any system of recording, documenting and preserving indigenous knowledge (IK) or information, let alone a mechanism for capturing IK to cope with dynamic world needs. An option that can be pursued is for the IK so captured to be digitised and stored for later use. Digitisation is ideal for sharing, exchanging, educating, and preserving indigenous knowledge and cultures. This requires a clear design for metadata standards and procedures, multimedia technologies and appropriate structures for access and use.
Defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows Non-Annex 1 countries to achieve sustainable development and contribute to the objective of the UNFCCC which is to prevent dangerous Climate Change and assist Annex 1 countries to achieve compliance with their quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments. It allows countries with reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex 1 Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries. CDM allows for emissions reduction and removal. CDM projects that can be carried out in Non-Annex 1 countries include Afforestation/Reforestation; Energy; Waste Management, Transport etc. Projects in developing countries can earn certified emission reduction (CERs) credits (each CER is equivalent to one tonne of CO2). These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by Annex 1 countries to meet part of the emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Two major features of any CDM project are: Additionality Technology transfer. Other conditions that have to be satisfied by a CDM project are: Permanence and Leakage.
The present REDDES project is preparing a major support component to Ghana’s Readiness Preparation Proposal (RPP) and aims at strengthening Ghana’s capacities to prevent and reduce deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+). The specific objective of the REDDES project is to lay out the ground work for the development or enhancement of off-reserve production systems under REDD+ schemes, in line with its efforts to reduce GHG emissions in forests. The present REDDES project is a preparatory step for an additional support component for the implementation of Ghana’s R-PP and is mainly concerned with developing a number of analytical work and the definition of REDD+ pilots in off-reserve areas. The project is also aimed at developing a framework to guide the implementation of REDD+ from the national to the local level. This shall allow Ghana to take stock of existing initiatives that have the potential to be considered under REDD+, as well as to concretely analyze promising REDD+ activities, which will be an integral part of the RPP. The information produced through the REDDES project shall prepare the further implementation of agricultural and secondary forest production schemes that feature climate smart practices. The following results shall be achieved:
1) Analysis of possible pilots for REDD+ activities in agricultural and secondary forest systems;
2) Identification of effective REDD+ implementation activities in management and governance;
3) Capacity building in view of improving the institutional capacities needed for effective resource management under consideration of REDD+ activities;
4) Feed the results of the analysis under 1 – 3 into the design of a main project document for implementing major REDD+ pilots under the RPP scheme.
The Tropical forest plays critical role in regulating the greenhouse gas Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and for that matter rate of global climate changes. This is effected both by storing of substantial amount of carbon in biomass and soil, and by regulating transfer of this stored carbon into the atmosphere as the greenhouse gas CO2. How much carbon and energy the forest captures through photosynthesis is the Gross Primary Production (GPP). GPP = NPP + Raut. NPP = Change in biomass + Litter + Grazing. CUE = Ratio of NPP to GPP
Trade in timber and timber products contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Ghana. The Ghana timber industry has over the years been largely characterized by primary and secondary processing primarily for export. The magnitude of tertiary processed products and equivalent foreign exchange earnings has consistently declined over the years (e.g. it decreased from 11.35% in 2004 to 4.03% in 2009 in terms of volume of tertiary products exported (TIDD, 2011). Timber industry is currently challenged with dwindling wood supplies coupled with the demand for wood for domestic consumption. Under the present circumstances, the need to redirect industry focus for higher value processing cannot be under scored lack of an accredited testing centre in the country to ensure that standards are complied in the manufacture and processing of wood products. Despite the availability of some high quality wood species, the quality level of wood and furniture products is rather low. This needs to be improved to enable the wood industry compete on both the local and international markets. Influx of low quality and cheap foreign wood products. Ghana is a focus country in the wood and furniture sector under the Swiss Import Promotion (SIPPO) programme. In most of the developed countries the fulfillment of standards is one of the key factors for market access. A wood and a furniture testing Lab. accredited under ISO 17025 is therefore needed.
Housing is recognized as one of the most important infrastructural developments necessary for the economic growth of a nation However, the rising cost of housing is a problem that has beheaded many nations especially those in the developing world. Ghana is no exception to the rising cost of housing, which is due to the persistent increase in building materials that are mostly imported . Ghana faces an acute housing deficit of one million, seven hundred thousand (1,700,0000) units, which represents an average of 13% increase for the 2011.Currently cement is produced from clinker and gypsum at an annual cost of about $80 million and that during the past decade the cost of cement has increased from GHC3.2 to GHC20.00. The abundant nature of diverse raw materials, which can be used in the construction industry in the country cannot be over emphasized.The increased use of the available local materials will considerably reduce the import bill on building materials as well as retain capital, provide affordable housing, generate revenue to the state, provide employment for the youth and hasten infrastructural development in districts. The Govt. is seeking to ensure that by the year 2015 at least 60% of the raw materials used in the building and construction industry will be indigenous raw materials.
Bamboo is one of the locally available raw materials
The primary forest of Ghana is dwindling fast due to over-exploitation of timber, mining, bushfires and agricultural activities and replaced by less diverse plantations of exotic species. This affects the diversity of fungi of economic importance which impacts negatively the livelihood and food security of fringe forest communities. Scientific data on diversity and status of species of birds, primates, mammals, and insects within several protected areas have been collected with little or no data on fungi. Knowledge on fungal genetic resource would raise awareness to biodiversity conservation in protected forests. It would also improve community adaptation to climate change by initiating alternative livelihood strategies as to the sustainable utilization of the resources.
Quantifying carbon stocks in tropical ecosystems is crucial for understanding the global C cycle, formulation and evaluation of climate change mitigation measures, and the management of ecosystems for C sequestration. Additionally, the critical role of land use or cover as an important control of C storage in the terrestrial biosphere is undisputed. Currently, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from land use change continue to attract global attention. It is estimated that emissions from land use change, mostly from developing countries, constitute 20 – 25% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions hence, the considerations of land use management in international climate change agreements as an option to mitigate the build-up of atmospheric GHGs. It is envisaged that land use-based mitigation initiatives, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), aside confronting deforestation and forest degradation, also has the potential to simultaneously contribute to climate change mitigation and development in local communities. This provides a new opportunity for Ghana, which hitherto has not benefited from the global carbon market, to further her developmental goals. The country’s attempt to implement land-based carbon projects is hampered by lack of baseline information especially on carbon stocks. Presently, our knowledge of Ghana’s carbon budget is limited by inadequate data on carbon stocks in the various cover types as well as the spatial distribution of these sinks. Moreover, quantifying forest cover changes are key requirements in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol implementation. There is awareness about the alarming pace of forest cover change in Ghana. Estimation of change is however based on “best guesses” rather than on scientifically robust methods. Thus, there is an urgent need to determine more reliable estimates of forest cover changes and associated carbon stocks at a resolution consistent with the scale of deforestation in the country.
Allanblackia parviflora, is a multipurpose indigenous fruit tree species that could be used in agroforestry systems with both environmental and economic benefits. The seed oil is of prime importance as a foreign exchange earner and is being developed as a rural based enterprise in many African countries notably Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania. The seed oil is in high demand by Unilever Ghana for its food products and cosmetics. Currently, the supply of seeds from the wild is 5 per cent of the demand. There is therefore a need to domesticate Allanblackia to sustain the supply of Allanblackia seeds to feed both the local and foreign markets. Partners of Novella Africa are therefore encouraging the cultivation of the species for a sustainable supply of seed oil for the manufacturing of products such as soap, margarine etc.
Sustainable supply and conservation of mahogany is threatened by overexploitation of natural mahogany forests which has exceeded natural regeneration for decades. Exacerbating the situation is the inability to establish mahogany plantations in their native range as a result of the incidence of Hypsipyla robusta (mahogany shoot borer). Mahogany shoot borer kills the main stem of the young trees, causing excessive forking and branching which results in tree mortality. As a consquence of the destructive activities of Hypsipyla, some entomologists have classified it as the most important pest in tropical forestry.
This project sponsored by ITTO focuses on the development of an integrated pest management strategy for Hypsipyla via plantation culture to restore and conserve African mahogany. The developmental objective is to improve the sustainability of indigenous mahogany in Ghana by developing superior mahoganies that are ecologically adapted and insect tolerant and expand collaboration with industry and community tree farmers. The specific objective seeks to refine silvicultural “tool kit” to improve the ability to produce economically viable indigenous mahogany in mixed plantations and to transfer this technology to Ghana’s key industrial partners and community tree growers via a practical “how to” cultivate indigenous mahogany manual.
In the second year of project implementation, some activities were undertaken to help realize the objectives of the project. These include: expansion of mahogany nurseries and provenance experimental plots to determine seed source with superior characteristics comprising of best growth rate, better tree form and tolerance to Hypsipyla robusta attack. The implementation of the mahogany project has demonstrated that mahoganies can be grown in Ghana despite problems with pests though the final project results are not yet available to the public. The main challenge is to keep the interest in planting mahogany growing to restore the lead role mahogany plays in the timber industry in Ghana.
Wood is a hygroscopic material and its moisture content will always have a tendency to change until it is in equilibrium with the amount of water vapour in the surrounding atmosphere. It is important for users of wood to have a good understanding of the effects of moisture content on its properties. Movement is a dimensional change that occurs during the service life of seasoned wood due to
environmental changes. Movement of timbers with higher values results in the loosening of joints and in the development of unsightly gaps.
In Ghana, small areas of intact or slightly degraded forests reserved for religious and traditional beliefs can be found in many places. These sacred groves, as they are called, have various underlying beliefs and prohibitions, most common is that cutting of trees for timber is not allowed. Though these groves add considerable value to the protected area of forests of high genetic value, which are poorly represented in state-managed forest reserves, yet they have come under intense pressure recently with many experiencing various degrees of deforestation and forest degradation. As ‘forest islands’ they remain among the most valuable biodiversity hotspots for which much could be obtained for the conservation and sustainable management of forests for the future.
In recent times, the role of local religious and cultural edicts for the preservation of these sacred groves has waned significantly and this is not peculiar to Ghana, but worldwide. Sacred groves and other small remnant forests could be important sources of ecosystem services (ES) not just for fringing local communities but also for entire landscapes.
A study of the legal framework for forest reserves in Ghana indicates that most of the reserves are owned by corporate customary stools or clans. Customary law provides no restriction on destruction or use of trees, and national legislation seeks only to prohibit the destruction or sale of commercial timber trees. An analysis of the procedures related to forest reserves showed that the laws governing them have stifled the local land-tenure systems and given local communities a disincentive to protect reserves. These procedures fail to properly take into account community rights and benefits for villages near the reserves and have alienated local communities. With few or no rights in the reserves, nearby farmers and communities have had no incentives to protect, manage, or invest in the resource. Outside the reserves, the lack of tree tenure and payments to
farmers, together with inadequate compensation by concessionaires for damage to farms, have created not only a disincentive to plant or protect timber trees but also a strong motivation to destroy them before concessionaires can harvest them. Thus many landowners and farmers would rather negotiate secretly with chain-saw operators to have the trees on their land illegally harvested than allow the legitimate concessionaires to harvest the trees and pay token compensation.
To tackle illegal logging, Ghana signed and ratified FLEGT/VPA Agreement in 2009 but a report by Chatham House in July 2010 mentioned that ‘Ghana did not appear to see any improvement in halting illegal logging over the last decade’. Illegal logging remains rampant in Ghana, estimated at two-thirds of its total production, most of which comes from artisanal logging. Illegal logging has not halted or even reduced because the local groups who in most instances initiate the logging are not involved in efforts to halt illegal logging. Another key problem is the lack of capacity on forest issues related to logging. Additionally, no efforts have been made to determine the motivational needs of local groups for monitoring and reporting of illegal logging. The causes of this are (1) lack of sensitization and training on logging issues such as forest policy, laws and agreements (2) lack of capacity in monitoring and reporting (3) lack of determination of motivational needs for monitoring and reporting which are the core issues that the project seeks to address
The project is sponsored by the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP). Mushrooms are well known and contribute food nutrients to the diet of many people especially the rural folks in several countries. They are normally collected from the wild but with the current rate of bush burning and deforestation, collection of mushrooms from the wild in Ghana is generally threatened, leaving protected forest reserves as the only remaining source. The emergence of small scale mushroom farms in several tropical and subtropical countries is aimed at widening the production base of non-traditional export crops and promoting the economic welfare of rural communities. There is the need therefore, to improve upon the appropriate substrate and technology for maximum cultivation of indigenous edible mushrooms to avoid the overdependence on the forest reserves or the cultivation of exotic mushrooms.
Ghana is endowed with enormous quantities of agricultural (e.g. cassava and yam peels) and forestry wastes and there is the need to utilise these, especially root and tuber wastes, to improve on the yield of edible and medicinal local mushrooms.
The Ankasa Conservation Area, which incorporates the Nini-Suhien National Park and the Ankasa Resource Reserve, is considered the most biologically diverse forest ecosystem in Ghana. However, due to encroachment by local communities for unsustainable shifting cultivation and illegal logging in and around the area, the conservation area is being over-exploited resulting in deforestation and
degradation. This leads to poverty-forest resource depletion cycle and decreased quality of environmental services including increased emission of greenhouse gases.
The country’s attempt to implement land-based carbon projects is hampered by lack of baseline information especially on carbon stocks. Presently, our knowledge of Ghana’s carbon budget is limited by inadequate data on carbon stocks in the various cover types as well as the spatial distribution of these sinks. Moreover, quantifying forest cover changes is a key requirement in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol
implementation. Though there is national awareness about the alarming pace of forest cover change in Ghana, estimation of this change is however based on “best guesses” rather than on scientifically robust methods. Thus, there is an urgent need to determine more reliable estimates of forest cover
changes and associated carbon stocks at a resolution consistent with the scale of deforestation in the country.