Quantifying carbon stocks in tropical ecosystems is crucial for understanding the global C cycle, formulation and evaluation of climate change mitigation measures, and the management of ecosystems for C sequestration. Additionally, the critical role of land use or cover as an important control of C storage in the terrestrial biosphere is undisputed. Currently, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from land use change continue to attract global attention. It is estimated that emissions from land use change, mostly from developing countries, constitute 20 – 25% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions hence, the considerations of land use management in international climate change agreements as an option to mitigate the build-up of atmospheric GHGs. It is envisaged that land use-based mitigation initiatives, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), aside confronting deforestation and forest degradation, also has the potential to simultaneously contribute to climate change mitigation and development in local communities. This provides a new opportunity for Ghana, which hitherto has not benefited from the global carbon market, to further her developmental goals. The country’s attempt to implement land-based carbon projects is hampered by lack of baseline information especially on carbon stocks. Presently, our knowledge of Ghana’s carbon budget is limited by inadequate data on carbon stocks in the various cover types as well as the spatial distribution of these sinks. Moreover, quantifying forest cover changes are key requirements in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol implementation. There is awareness about the alarming pace of forest cover change in Ghana. Estimation of change is however based on “best guesses” rather than on scientifically robust methods. Thus, there is an urgent need to determine more reliable estimates of forest cover changes and associated carbon stocks at a resolution consistent with the scale of deforestation in the country.
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana