Timber harvesting in Ghana: a review of ecological impacts and potentials for increased harvesting of timber resources

Wed, 04/13/2011 - 21:44

Forest management has traditionally concentrated on timber harvesting and it is these systems that are best developed in Ghana. Timber management is based on the principles of sustained yield management using low intensity selection harvesting and natural regeneration as a silvicultural tool. The commercial out-turn of timber production from natural forests in Ghana is lower than the annual allowable cut due to the dependence of the timber industry on a few commercial timber trees. The low timber extraction rates coupled with high logging residue generation and extremely arduous forest working conditions make harvesting operations expensive. A solution to the high cost of exploitation per unit area is to increase yield by minimising logging waste and encouraging increased exploitation and utilisation of Lesser Used Species (LUS). However, the fundamental problem is that the impact of current logging operations are unknown and therefore increasing the current felling intensity levels in selective harvesting operations may not be sustainable. This paper therefore reviews both published and unpublished "grey" literature on the ecological impacts of timber harvesting in Ghana. The impact of current harvest intensities on forest cover, regeneration, biodiversity, increased fire hazards and forest soils are discussed

Responsible party
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana
Funding bodies
International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)