Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
illegal logging, overgrazing, desertification, endangered species, conservation plan
In the late 19th century, hardwood forests covered the southern half of Ghana. Considerable portions of these once-extensive forests have been destroyed, and today about 39.7 percent (1995) of the country is forested. Not all of these forests are commercially viable, however. About 1.3 percent (1990-1996) of the remaining forest is lost every year.
Ghana is the third largest producer of cacao in the world. Large tracts of forest have been cleared for cacao crops, which thrive in the rich soil of the rain forest. In times of depressed cacao prices, Ghana has significantly increased exports of timber to generate needed revenue.
In 1988 Ghana initiated a conservation plan called the Forest Resource Management Project. In 1989 Ghana restricted the export of 18 tree species, and in 1994 the country banned the export of raw logs. About 4.8 percent (1997) of the country’s land is officially protected, but illegal logging threatens Ghana’s remaining forests.
Deforestation, overgrazing, and periodic drought have led to desertification and soil erosion. Ghana’s wildlife populations, depleted by habitat loss, are further threatened by poaching.
Ghana has ratified international agreements protecting biodiversity, endangered species, tropical forests, wetlands, and the ozone layer.
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