The rate of deforestation in Ghana is estimated to be one of the highest in the world after Togo and Nigeria .At an estimated annual rate of 2% ,equivalent to 135,000 hectares per annum. The Green west Africa country is estimated to have lost over 60% of its forest cover from 1950 to date,which translates to about 2.7 million hectares of forest depleted .
According to the Ghana REDD+ strategy reviewed document Prepared by the National REDD+ Secretariat of Ghana forwarded and released by the Forestry commission of Ghana in 2017,the main drivers of deforestation and degradation in the country are farming,both legal and illegal mining ,illegal lumbering ,wildfires ,fuel wood harvesting and infrastructural development while weak law enforcement coupled with corruption,population growth and development also form part of indirect causes.
Ghana’s forest Land is demarcated into three main ecological zones which are High Forest Zone,Transitional Zone and Savannah zone.The High Forest Zone falls within the biodiversity hotpots of Guinean forest,considered to be one of the 36 most vital biodiversity areas in the world.The forest belts in Ghana are rich with abundant natural resources such as minerals , timber and various wildlife species .
These richness of the forest have been inappropriately exploited creating debilitating effect on quality of the environment .With the current rate of depletion if not reversed could trigger serious environmental crises in the country which will affect agriculture,water resource,economy and survival of Ghanaians.
The forest sector is estimated to contribute about 6% of the country’s GDP and employs more than 100,000 people whiles million people depend on the forest for livelihood.
Ghana is preparing to implement from 2017,the REDD+ strategy after 15 years of introduction at the CoP11 in Montreal,Canada to help address the menace.The REDD+ strategy is complex interventions envisage to reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation whiles incorporating the conservation,sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stock in the country.The initial phase of the Program ,according to the Forestry Commission ,will focus on implementing the Cocoa Forest REDD+ program,the Programme for Northern Woodland Savannah and monitoring for impact assessment. The full Implementation of the REDD+ projects for the entire country will kick start in 2022 to 2030.