According to the FAO (2015) Ghana has around 9.3 million hectares of forested land, which constitutes to 41.0% of the total land area. Around 9.0 million hectares are primary or otherwise naturally regenerated forest, and around 325 thousand hectares are planted forest. The Ghanaian forests broadly fall into two vegetation zones, each with different vegetation and forest types: the High Forest Zone in the South covering 34% and the Savannah Zone in the North covering 66% of the land area (MLNR, 2012). Ghana has approximately 2.6 million hectares of forest reserve land, of which 1.6 million hectares falls within the so-called High Forest Zone. Of these reserves 715,000 hectares have been dedicated for natural timber production, with the remainder under protection and plantation development. Apart from these reserves approximately 500 thousand hectares of unreserved forests as well as a further 2 million hectares of crop land also produce timber (Ghana – EU, 2012).
The ownership of the Ghanaian forest area can be divided among public land, stool land, family land and private land. However, the management of all forest resources including timber harvesting rights are administered by the Forestry Commission for benefit of the land owners. The management responsibilities of the Forestry Commission in relation to off-reserve forest resources are more limited as in relation to on-reserve areas. In off-reserve areas the Forestry commission is responsible for regulating, as opposed to managing, the utilization of forest and timber resources (ClientEarth, 2013a).
PRODUCTION AND EXPORT
According to ITTO (2017) the Ghanaian industry produced in 2015 about 2.6 million m3 of roundwood, and the majority of this volume is used within the country since only the export of teak logs is permitted. The exports of primary timber products accounted for a total export value of 230.2 million US dollars in 2015.
Although Ghana produces quite a number of tree species, the 10 most important Ghanaian timber species, in terms of exported value in 2014, are (TIDD, Forestry Commission):
- Teak (Tectona grandis)
- Ceiba, Fromager (Ceiba pentandra)
- Abachi, Wawa (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
- African mahogany (Khaya spp.)
- Rosewood, Kpatro (Pterocarpus erinaceus)
- Afzelia, Papao, Doussie (Afzelia spp.)
- Gmelina (Gmelina arborea)
- Aniegre, Asanfina (Aningeria spp.)
- Limba, Ofram (Terminalia superba)
- Sapele, Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum)
The Ghanaian exports are sold to all regions of the world. Besides overland export routes to other African countries, most timber is exported via the main ports (GHPA, 2015) in the south: Port of Tema and Port of Takoradi. These ports have good connections to the hinterland by road.
For the development of the export industry the country aims to make more efficient use of the wood and to produce more high-end products such as shaped and machined mouldings, flooring, furniture components, dowels and similar added value items. As can be observed from the graph below the exports of primary and secondary products account for 97% to the export of wood products, while more high-end (tertiary) products account only for 3,5% of these exports.
Source : Timbertradeportal