Sustainable supply and conservation of mahogany is threatened by overexploitation of natural mahogany forests which has exceeded natural regeneration for decades. Exacerbating the situation is the inability to establish mahogany plantations in their native range as a result of the incidence of Hypsipyla robusta (mahogany shoot borer). Mahogany shoot borer kills the main stem of the young trees, causing excessive forking and branching which results in tree mortality. As a consquence of the destructive activities of Hypsipyla, some entomologists have classified it as the most important pest in tropical forestry.
This project sponsored by ITTO focuses on the development of an integrated pest management strategy for Hypsipyla via plantation culture to restore and conserve African mahogany. The developmental objective is to improve the sustainability of indigenous mahogany in Ghana by developing superior mahoganies that are ecologically adapted and insect tolerant and expand collaboration with industry and community tree farmers. The specific objective seeks to refine silvicultural “tool kit” to improve the ability to produce economically viable indigenous mahogany in mixed plantations and to transfer this technology to Ghana’s key industrial partners and community tree growers via a practical “how to” cultivate indigenous mahogany manual.
In the second year of project implementation, some activities were undertaken to help realize the objectives of the project. These include: expansion of mahogany nurseries and provenance experimental plots to determine seed source with superior characteristics comprising of best growth rate, better tree form and tolerance to Hypsipyla robusta attack. The implementation of the mahogany project has demonstrated that mahoganies can be grown in Ghana despite problems with pests though the final project results are not yet available to the public. The main challenge is to keep the interest in planting mahogany growing to restore the lead role mahogany plays in the timber industry in Ghana.