Unsustainable forest management in Ghana has led to a reduction of forest cover by almost half since 2000, leading to growing costs of natural resource degradation and the developmental threat of climate change. It is particularly acute in Ghana’s high forest zone (HFZ), a core cocoa production area where carbon stocks are high, but so too are rates of deforestation and land degradation.
The project addresses some key forest management challenges in the targeted HFZ region by: (i) improving the enabling environment and incentives for better stewardship and investment by local institutions, communities, and farmers; (ii) improving and diversifying livelihoods for communities as an alternative to forest degrading activities; (iii) coordinating and harmonizing incentives across multiple layers of institutions and stakeholders for improved livelihoods; and (iv) capitalizing on climate change as a focal initiative and financing opportunity. This is being done through upstream policy interventions, practical landscape level pilot demonstrations, capacity building, and communications efforts to improve understanding and practices and to prepare for wider replication and scale up.
Project solution and results
Under the leadership of the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (MLNR), this project seeks to support a paradigm shift in the working relationship of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Forestry Commission (FC). The project also intends to create an alternative and more effective approach to developing Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs) and building ownership among local populations to sustainably manage forests at the decentralized level.
This process has resulted in a transformed relationship between COCOBOD and FC, whose coordinated actions better facilitate sustainable forest management. It has also helped local farmers change their perception of forest management. At the time of the project’s mid-term review, a total of 85,000 hectares (ha) of land have been established as CREMAs, representing 170 percent of the original project target at this level. More than 9,500 ha have been restored or re/afforested. More than 52,600 people in targeted forest and adjacent communities have received monetary/non-monetary benefits from forest activities. Of the 5,600 direct project beneficiaries (of which 46 percent are female), more than 800 farmers have received capacity building measures to support improved management practices for tree planting or nurseries.