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Ghana Possesses Adequate Land for Extensive Forest Plantation Development

Statistics released by the Forest Services Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission (FC) indicates that Ghana has available a total of one million, seventy-five thousand hectares (1,075,000 ha) of land for forest plantation development. Out of this, Six hundred thousand hectares (600,000 ha) are located in the off-reserve forests, three hundred thousand hectares (300,000 ha) in on-reserve forests in the Savannah Belt and one hundred and seventy-five thousand hectares (175,000 ha) in on-reserve forests in the High Forest Zone.

Consequently, the country has the available land resources for the implementation of the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy under which it expects to establish and manage a total of 500,000 hectares of forest plantations over a 25 year period stretching from 2015 to 2040.

In addition, enrichment planting of 100,000 hectares of forests through the application of best practise principles would be undertaken in conjunction with the maintenance and rehabilitation of an estimated 235,000 hectares of existing forest plantations within the same period.

This information was made available by the FSD at a National Tree Growers Association Workshop organised for Tree Growers by Tropenbos International (TBI) Ghana at Kumasi on November 13 which was attended by 60 participants made up of tree growers, farmers, researchers, traditional authorities, scientists and policy makers.

The workshop which was under the theme “Improving the contribution of tree grower associations to forest plantation development in Ghana” was aimed at providing a platform for the participants to deliberate on issues that would promote strong tree grower associations and how they can contribute effectively to plantation development. It was organised under the Landscape Restoration Project (LRP) being run by TBI Ghana.

The Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy was developed in response to the global recognition that the establishment of forest plantations is one of the major tools for ecological restoration and sustainable development and the need for a well thought out strategic plan for plantation development in line with policy objectives of the country’s Forest and Wildlife Policy 2012.

In the absence of a clear strategic direction for plantation development and management in Ghana, the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy provides direction by spelling out goals and objectives, targets, actions and resources needed to support the development of forest plantations using best practices in addition to the envisaged technical and financial requirements.

The Strategy aims to achieve the sustainable supply of planted forest goods and services to deliver a range of economic, social and environmental benefits by promoting large scale and smallholder forest plantation investments which would create employment opportunities and sustainable livelihoods in rural communities.
Plantation establishment would be supported by an increase in investments in research and development, provision of extension services, training and capacity building for forest plantation development and timber utilisation and also improve governance in the regulation and management of forest plantations.
Meanwhile, views gathered from consultative workshops are to be incorporated into the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy for it to be validated at a validation workshop after which the document would be published and launched. 

Source: Tropenbos