In the course of the twentieth century, Ghana’s forested land area shrank from 8.2 million to 1.6 million hectares.
According to the FAO 1990 report, the forest of Ghana is decreasing at a rate of 1.3 percent per year, as stated by Mr Wilson Owusu-Asare, the Akyem Oda District Forestry Manager.
Rapid population expansion, according to Mr. Owusu-Asare, who presented a paper at the Forest Plantation Development Programme Workshop hosted by SWAM Ghana Limited in Akyem Oda, has led to a surge in demand for forest products.
There is a Sierra Leonean mining firm called SWAM Ghana limited that wants to build private plantations in Ghana.
Clearing for agriculture, unsustainable timber logging, urban and industrial growth, exploitation for fuel wood and other domestic uses, frequent yearly forest fires, surface mining, and so on were all cited as major contributors to the depletion of the world’s forests.
The forest’s declining health is reflected in the growing gap between supply and demand for wood and wood products.
While the export-focused wood sector has an established capacity of 3.7 million cubic metres, “Ghana’s forest and timber resources can only sustain an annual allowable cut of one million cubic metres of timber.”
About three million cubic metres of local wood consumption is expected by 2020, Mr. Owusu-Asare said, which will lead to a loss of biodiversity, unpredictable rainfall, the drying up of streams and rivers, extreme weather, and the “savannisation” of the forest area.
According to him, the ever-increasing need for wood for both home and industrial uses would seem to be met by plantations, which had a better yield per hectare than the wild forest and were species, which had fast growth.
According to Mr. Owusu-Asare, the project’s goal is to encourage the private sector to contribute 20,000 hectares annually to expanding Ghana’s forest cover over the next decade.
It aims to increase agricultural output, which in turn will increase food security, as well as create jobs and economic opportunity in rural areas.
Mr. Owusu- Asare has stated that commercial forest plantation in Ghana has a lot of potential due to the country’s favourable climate, terrain, and soils in comparison to other tropical countries.
“Appropriate sustainable forest development aimed at environmental stabilisation and soil improvement, alongside the provision of timber and other locally important forest products, is believed to be a key contribution to development in the country.”
Afterwards, Mr David Sarkwaa Donkor, Managing Director of SWAM Ghana Limited, gave a presentation detailing the daily activities of the Company to the attendees.
He reported that in only four months of business in Ghana, 36.67 hectares of teak plantations had been established in the Akyem Oda and Winneba Forest Districts.