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Forest Resources

Forest can be defined as vegetation

dominated by trees, without a grassy or
weedy under-storey, and which has not
recently been farmed (Hall, 1987:33).

Forests differ in structure and composition

( e.g. Tropical rain forest, moist deciduous
forest, coniferous forest).

Types of Forest Resources : Timber and

non-timber resources. Non-timber
resources are all biological materials other
than timber which are extracted for human
use (Woodcock, 2002).

Socio-Economic Importance
of Forests

Food (Fruits and bush meat). About 80% of the

rural population in Ghana consumes bush meat.
Export of wood (Foreign Exchange)
Fuel wood
Raw materials (e.g. cardboard, plywood,
furniture, matchbox).
Recreational services
Socio-cultural significance: Sacred sites and
cultural symbols

Environmental and
Ecological Benefits

One of the most important

ecosystems (Potter et al, 2008)

Reservoir and source of biodiversity

Forests as carbon sink, regulating

temperature ( Betts et al, 2008)

Controlling soil erosion by holding

soil firmly

Forest Resources of

The forest area of Ghana is estimated

at 9.17 million ha, of which Closed
Forest Zone (high forests) constitutes
8.1342 million ha.
Some parts of the high forest zone in
Ghana are under reservation. This
area is about 1.77 million hectares, of
which 1.634 million ha is managed by
the Forestry Department (MLF, 2001).

Factors that Influence the

development of the Lumbering
industry (Temperate vrs tropics)

Nature of the forest

Preference for tree species
Demand for wood
Note that variations in these factors
explains the differences between
lumbering in temperate and tropical

Problems Facing the

Lumbering Industry in

Heterogeneous nature of the forests:.

Climate: High temperatures, heavy
rainfall (which makes the ground swampy
and muddy) and the presence of pests and
Poor infrastructure
Unreliable supply of power
Inadequate capital
High level of illegal logging


A major form of environmental degradation

Annual rate of global forest loss in the 1990s was
2.4% (Potter et al, 2008)
In absolute terms, South America suffered the
largest net loss of forests between 2000 and 2005.
In terms of percentage forest loss per year, Africa
has the highest deforestation rate of 0.6%, while
South America has the second highest rate of
deforestation of 0.5%.
Regarding deforestation rates in individual
countries, Brazil loses the largest area of forest
annually. However, in terms of percentages,
Nigeria and Sudan were the two largest losers of
natural forest during the 2000-2005 period (FAO,

Rates of deforestation

% Forest Cover Change
- 0.6
South America
- 0.5
North and central America
- 0.05

Magnitude of Ghanas
Forest Loss

Conventional estimates suggests that forest cover

fell from about 8 million ha in the late 1890s to
about 2 million ha contemporary (FrimpongMensah, 1989; Ebregt, 1995).

Fairhead and Leach (1998) challenged this.

They asserted that the forests before the 1890s may
have just covered 5.5 million ha, of which 2 million
ha still remain.

FAO (2003) estimates that deforestation in Ghana

was about 1.7% per annum between 1990 and 2000.
Only 2% of the total area of forest reserves is in a
very excellent condition. 121 of 214 forest
reserves assessed in 1993 were seriously degraded .


At the empirical level, the causes of

deforestation are complex and quite poorly
understood (Grainger, 1993).

The causes of deforestation can be put into

two categories, namely direct or proximate
and indirect or underlying or fundamental

The direct/proximate factors are the direct

human activities that cause forest loss.

Causes of deforestation

Agricultural activities (shifting

cultivation in Africa. In the Brazilian
Amazonia forest region, forest loss is
significantly caused by cattle ranching.
Logging ( high illegal logging)
Fuel wood production,
Bush fires
Expansion of human settlements
Dams and other development projects

Indirect Causes of

Rapid population growth leads to deforestation.

However, link is contested (Tiffen et al. 1994).

Poverty is a factor (Durning 1989 ). Again, it has

been argued the poor lack the ability to pay for the
materials and labour needed to clear forest (Movik et
al. 2003).

Corruption (Winbourne, 2005; Teye, 2013 )



Inappropriate Forest
Policies and Property
Rights Systems
Policy weaknesses (Grainger and Konteh,

Policy weaknesses (Grainger and Konteh,

2007; Teye, 2008).
In Ghana local communities were not actively
involved in forest management. They then
connived with chainsaw operators.
Again, fines for illegal logging were too low to
scare illegal loggers. Figures fixed in 1974
revised only in 1994.
Royalty levels were often very low, because of
the desire to help local timber firms. The
World Bank Mission, in 1986, noted that forest
resources in Ghana could be considered a
free good because of the exceptionally low
royalty and fees levels (IBRD, 1986).

Policy weaknesses as a
cause to deforestation

Awudi and Davies (2001) estimated that the

state and landowning communities receive
only 13% of the actual value of timber (after
logging costs were deducted).

Total uncollected timber revenue is about

$100 million per annum (Forest Watch,

Inappropriate property rights: poor farmers

have no incentive to protect trees.

Measures of Controlling

Ideally, any strategy of controlling

forest loss must tackle both the direct
and indirect causes of the problem.
Improved farming methods ( e.g.
agro-forestry. Farmers cultivate crops
and raise commercial trees at the same
Forest Policies : Ecoimperialism
(Lal, 1990), Decentralisation,

Controlling deforestation

Population family planning

Poverty: Alternative income generating
activities, such as dress making, soap
making etc.
Controlling of corruption in the forestry
sector will also go a long way to help reduce
This is difficult. Even where competitive
bidding systems are used, the political elite
can still award contracts to companies they
prefer, since the criteria for selecting best
firms may be adjusted to fit the
qualifications of specific firms. These are
termed hidden violations of the rules
(Soreide, 2007)

Principles of Natural
Resource Governance

Natural resource governance entails the formulation

and implementation of natural resource policy.
A good governance system is that it must ensure
that the roles of the various stakeholders are
recognised and accepted (Woodcock, 2002 ).
Involvement of interest groups.
Rights of local people are protected (Agrawal, 2007).
Management system must create incentives and
disincentives for sustainable natural resource
management (Larson, 2002).

Corruption and natural

resource management:
According to Marmon (2009:1),

corruption is the misuse of entrusted

powers for private gain. This definition
suggests that corruption has many faces.
It encompasses misconduct by state
officials such as embezzlement, bridetaking, political payoffs, cronyism,
influence peddling, nepotism, patronage,
extortion (Mock, 2003:1).

Corruption and resource


Natural resource riches breed corruption

(Sachs and Warner, 2001), which
negatively affects economic performance
(Isham et al., 2005; Dietz et al. 2007).
Causes: Law salaries, greed, weak
Corruption operates at three levels,
namely grand corruption, mid-level
corruption and petty corruption
(Winbourne, 2005).


Grand corruption involves large illegal

transactions between high-level public
officials (usually politicians) and private
individuals or firms. Top politicians may
allow party men to exploit timber
without acquiring the necessary permits.
In some cases, contracts are awarded
without competitive bidding.
Dubious contracts and payments for no


Mid-level corruption, which is also

widespread in the forestry sector, is
manifested in many ways as bribes,
gifts, nepotism, kickbacks and
embezzlement. Top forestry officials
who receive kickbacks may ignore
illegal activities of big timber men.
Petty/Survival corruption : guards

Decentralised vrs centralised

management: the Case of

Two opposing schools of thought

Those in favour believe that
community people have the ability.
Hardins thesis, The Tragedy of
the Commons, was one of the
earliest writings on the subject.

Arguments for
Decentralised Natural
Resources Management
It will reduce Systems
management cost due to

proximity to local resource managers, and

reliance on local knowledge and labour .
Due to proximity, local people can supervise
forest management better than central
government officials, who have legal
authority over vast areas.
Equitable distribution of the benefits
from forest resources
Promote marginalised local groups
participation in resource management.


Technical expertise on the management of

natural resources is generally uncommon in
rural areas and hiring specialists may be
expensive for local governments.
Tribalism and nepotism.
Inequalities and related intra - and intercommunity resource struggles.
Boundary conflicts: India, forest dependents in
some communities raided the forest reserves of
nearby weaker communities in order to allow for
the regeneration of their own forest (Shah and
Shah 1995).
Unequal power relations: Elite capture or
curse of the elites ( Teye, 2011)

Assessment of forest decentralisation: Actors,

Powers and Accountability Framework

Many developing countries claim to

have adopted decentralisation
Yet deforestation rates are high
Various theories for assessment:
Actors, Powers and Accountability
Agrawal and Ribot (1999)


Bazaara (2003) for Uganda

Ribot (2008) in Senegal
Teye (2011) in Ghana:
All these assessments showed that there
are very few cases in the developing
world where local people have actually
been given the total power to exclusively
manage forests.
Policy ambiguities used to confuse
governments of the developing world.

Ambiguities of new
decentralised Forest
policy in Ghana
Policy formulated in 1994
Actors: Central government, Community forestry
committees to provide free labour
Powers: No power to local people; no consultations; they
have no rights over forest resources. 10% revenue to
chiefs and DAS.
Accountability: No downward accountability
Conclusion: Government is not committed to
decentralisation; Use of decentralisation to masquerade
patronage networks
Similar situations in Senegal, Zimbabwe ( see Ribot, 2008).
African governments are not committed to