Logging operations, conventional or otherwise can have both positive and negative ecological impacts on the forest ecosystem. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the ecological impacts of chainsaw milling in terms of its contribution to degradation of forest resources and damage on ecologically sensitive sites. Field assessments of ecological impacts of chainsaw milling were conducted in four Forest Reserves (Asenayo, Nkrabia, Tano Offin and Atiwa Range) and two areas outside forest reserve in the Goaso and Kade districts. We assessed selected ecological impact indicator variables related to illegal chainsaw logging and conventional logging along four transects laid at 400m intervals along the long axis of the compartments in the selected forest reserves. Assessment of the off-reserves was similarly done using the indicator variables applied in the forest reserves. The disturbance around a single felled tree and total area of operational zone disturbed appeared wider in chainsaw milling compared with conventional logging whereas in terms of forest canopy reduction no difference was observed between the impact of chainsaw milling and conventional logging as shown by comparative data from Asenayo Forest Reserve. The study also revealed that chainsaw millers fell wide range of tree sizes, unaware of the felling restrictions on harvestable diameters and more seriously do not pay attention to conservation practices. Our current results though do not support the general view that chainsaw milling is more wasteful than conventional milling (as conducted in Ghana) in terms of residue generation, however, there is strong evidence to indicate that in the short term uncontrolled chainsaw milling will have several negative
impacts on the forest ecosystem.