Ghana map

Ghana is located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, which gives it a warm climate. Grasslands mixed with south coastal shrublands and forests dominate Ghana, with forest extending northward from the south-west coast of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean and eastward. The Kingdom of Ashanti, which is located in the southern part of Ghana, is a primary location for mining of industrial minerals and timber. Ghana has plains, waterfalls, low hills, rivers, Lake Volta (the world's largest artificial lake), and Dodi Island and Bobowasi Island on the south Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
22,754,000 hectares
Area of forest
41.0% of land area
Area of agriculture
69.0% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
11.9% of land area


27.4 million
Population growth
2.3% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP from agriculture
GDP per person
1381.40 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
0.60 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
Bonn Challenge Commitments
Goal year
Date committed
Area committed
2,000,000 hectares
Potential economic benefit
628 million USD
Potential climate benefit
0.19 GtCO2 sequestered
National Restoration Targets
Total restoration target
1,667,200 hectares
Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) – FCPF
Readiness Preparation Proposal: Ghana (2010)
  • It is envisaged that REDD-plus components of a National Strategy for Ghana will fall into two broad and overlapping thematic areas: 
    • Theme A: Timber policy and supply. Approaches here will focus on traditional forest and timber sector operations, processes, policies and laws, and on the potential for broadening public participation in the sector and its management. This will involve consideration of both on- and off-reserve supply, and the potential of REDD payments to improve the management and emissions performance of each.
    • Theme B: Wider aspects of forest policy including agro-forestry and other carbon conserving activities. Approaches here will reflect the potential for actions in the agriculture, agro-industry and fuel wood sub-sectors to contribute to avoided deforestation and degradation. Some of these options will be suitable for pilot interventions during step 2 of R-PP implementation (p. 46). 
  • The greatest impact on forest carbon stores is likely to be felt at the lowest economic opportunity cost by implementing changes to forest policy. To help accommodate the potential political costs of such changes, a transparent design process that prioritizes co- benefits is important (p. 47).  
  • National forest policy is already under review, as is a new Wildlife Bill and revision of the Forest Sector Development Master Plan. Ghana’s FLEGT programme also has important policy dimensions. The immediate, urgent requirement is for the implications of, and potential financial flows from, REDDplus to be fully taken into account in the new policies, plans and laws, alongside other social, environmental and economic priorities. Carbon impact will need to be considered throughout the design of the new policies (p. 47-8). 
  • Existing tree tenure arrangements will be reviewed, to optimise the incentives for tree conservation and replanting. Current pilot activities (for example, Community Resource Managemen Area, CREMAs) will be examined to ascertain the potential for meaningful innovation with and without major tenurial reforms (p. 48). 
  • Further research is also needed in relation to the agricultural emissions profiles of agro- industries relating to crops and trees for which opportunities have already opened up or are likely to in the near future – fruits such as pineapple for the export market, biofuels such as oil palm and jatropha, and trees such as rubber. A Working Group on Low Carbon Agro- industrial Development will be formed, under the leadership of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, with inputs from other relevant Ministries (MLNR, MoFA, Finance and Economic Planning). The aim would be to identify policy and strategic options that will reduce the carbon footprints and improve the pro-poor benefits of these industries (p. 51).  
National Forest and/or Climate Strategy and/or Low Carbon Development Strategy
Restoration target
1,635,000 hectares
Forestry Development Master Plan: 1996-2020 (1996)
  • Within the forest reserves, it is estimated that there are some 397,000 ha. suitable for planting. There is no estimate for off-reserves and the savanna zone, as these are still subject to shifting cultivation. A nationwide planting target of 200,000 ha. had been proposed for establishment by annual plantings of 10,000 ha. over the next 20 years on unproductive forest lands and in the savanna zone. If attained, the additional tree cover would occupy 10% of the present area of the forest estate (p. 17).  
  • Programme 2: Expansion and Diversification of Forest-based Products 
    • Development Objectives:
      • Expansion of the nation's forest and tree cover for increased yields of domestic and industrial products and environmental enhancement; 
      • Development and management of sustainable fuelwood and non-timber products.
    • Expected Outcomes:
      • Areas on the forestlands without adequate tree cover are fully stocked and properly maintained; 
      • At least a 10 per cent increase in the area of forest and tree cover through afforestation, reforestation, industrial plantations and agro-forestry. 
    • Development Activities:
      • Increased forest and tree cover - The major activities will be focused on enrichment and restocking of degraded forest areas and concessions, establishment of plantations on suitable conversion areas and support to community forestry and agro-forestry needs. It will be necessary to identify and survey areas to be enriched and restocked, plan and organize work programmes to be executed by districts forest staff, communities and institutions (p. 23).
    • Proposed projects:
      • Commercial Forest Plantation Development ($6.7 M)
      • Reforestation of Abandoned Cocoa Farms ($2 M) (p. 45).
Ghana Forest and Wildlife Policy (2012)
  • Policy Objective 2: Promoting The Rehabilitation And Restoration Of Degraded Landscapes Through Forest Plantation Development, Enrichment Planting, And Community Forestry
    • Large tracts of forest lands are degraded and need to be rehabilitated (p. 22).
    • Promote community and private sector investments in Forest Plantations establishment for multiple functionality including provision of industrial timber, biodiversity, agriculture productivity, watershed protection, carbon sequestration and soil and water conservation. 
    • Review the Forest Plantation Development Fund to set up and operate a National Reforestation Fund indexed to the exploitation of timber and wildlife resources and managed by an independent reforestation board and operating through a national commercial bank with exible terms of lending.
    • Promote the adoption of farm forestry practices which include managing trees on farms, farm boundary planting and agroforestry systems.
    • Promote ecological restoration of degraded and poorly stocked forests using appropriate reforestation/restoration techniques(ie enrichment planting, Assisted Natural Regeneration, etc.) (p. 23).
National Forest Plantation Strategy 2015-2040
  • Target: 20,000 ha/year
  • Rehabilitation of an estimated 235,000 ha of existing forest plantations
  • Enrichment planting of 100,000 ha of under- stocked forest reserves 
REDD+ Strategy
A National Strategy on REDD+

Strategy in development

Emission Reduction Program Idea Note (ER-PIN) – FCPF
Ghana’s Emission Reductions Program for the Cocoa Forest Mosaic Landscape (Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program)
  • Ghana’s Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program is globally unique and highly ambitious in its scope and scale. The program seeks to significantly reduce emissions across the HFZ that are driven by cocoa farming and other key drivers in a manner that will secure the future of Ghana’s forests, significantly improve livelihoods opportunities for farmers and forest users, and establish a results-based planning and implementation framework through which the government, the private sector, civil society, and local communities can collaborate (p. 7).  
  • The Ghana FIP-financed World Bank Project, “Enhancing Carbon Stocks in Forests and Agroforest Landscapes” also aims to reduce forest loss and degradation of the landscape. Therefore, the ER Program will formally align with and leverage activities related to Component 1 (Policy Reforms and Institutional Strengthening) and Component 2 (Pilot Investments for Improved Forest and Landscape Management). These include: 
    • Promoting trees in key landscapes and corridors 
    • Enhancing trees and climate-smart practices in cocoa landscapes 
    • Enhancing carbon stocks through facilitation of plantation investment in degraded Forest Reserves Enrichment planting, nurseries, and native species for restoring degraded and agricultural landscapes 
    • Supporting integrated landscape level planning in support of community-based resource use decisions (p. 29).
  • Seven strategy options have been identified to tackle the main drivers of degradation and deforestation in the ER Program landscape. These include: 
    • Mitigate effects of agricultural expansion (particularly cocoa in the HFZ) 
    • Expansion high biomass agroforestry / tree crops systems (p. 28). 
  • Policy reforms (Strategy Option B):
    • Piloting and testing new policies is a top priority of the program, as well as that of the FIP. Ghana’s R-PP highlights the need for tree tenure and benefit sharing reforms that will incentivize farmers to retain and/or plant trees on-farms or in the wider landscape.
    • The program will also couple community based monitoring with enhanced law enforcement to reduce the extent of encroachment into forest reserves from cocoa and food crop farming, as well as illegal logging activities.  
    • Finally, the program aims to consolidate cocoa farming resources and interventions onto the most appropriate cocoa farming lands, while promoting other tree crops or agroforestry systems (oil palm, rubber, NTFP agroforests, plantations) on soils and land-use types that are ill-suited to cocoa (p. 30). 
Forest Investment Program (FIP)
Restoration target
32,200 hectares
Investment Plan for Ghana (2012)
  • Project 2: Engaging Local Communities In Redd+ / Enhancement Of Carbon Stocks
    • Cocoa and food crops: Agroforestry is the tropical land use system in Ghana with the greatest potential to sequester carbon. For sustainable cocoa production, permanent shading up to 40% (equivalent to about 15-18 trees) per hectare is recommended. Managing trees within cocoa landscape does not only contribute to GHG abatement but also contributes to biodiversity conservation and enhanced fragmented forest connectivity. Activities will include the following:
      • Test how trees influence productivity, resilience and carbon gain in cocoa farming systems
      • Test the introduction of trees within the cocoa landscape as a biodiversity conservation tool
      • Re-introduction of cocoa and multi-purpose trees in degraded landscapes which were formerly used to cultivate cocoa: Reduce “new frontier” farming (converting virgin forests to cocoa) and test the use of trees to create the necessary micro-climate for the growth of cocoa in old cocoa growing areas which are currently under food crop farming (p. 86). 
    • Sub-Component 2.2: Managing Naturally Occurring Trees in food and other tree-crop farming systems 
      • Piloting innovative tenure and incentives systems to help farmers retain naturally occurring trees on crop farms 
      • Integrating trees forest carbon sequestration into food crop landscapes 
      • Pilot tree conservation systems within the crop farming landscape – e.g. with species such as Faidherbia albida
      • Pilot agroforestry systems which increase carbon stocks while increasing food crop productivity 
      • Pilot BioChar (activated carbon incorporated into the soil) as a Soil Carbon Enhancement measure within the crop farming landscape 
      • Increase carbon stocks within farm fallows, through among other measures an increase the fallow period (p. 87).
    • Component 3: Support for Community Restoration of Degraded Forest and Agricultural Landscapes 
      • Pilot rehabilitation of degraded forest reserves using four main reforestation systems tested under the Community Forestry Management Project (CFMP), namely; Contract Farming, Outgrower Scheme, Modified Taungya System (MTS) and Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
      • Pilot incentives for farmers and land owners to conserve trees on their lands for both timber production and enhancement of carbon stocks (p. 87).
Ghana – Engaging Local Communities In REDD+/ Enhancement Of Carbon Stocks – Ghana (ELCIR+) (2013)
  • The Engaging Local Communities in REDD+/ Enhancement of Carbon Stocks (ELCIR+) project objective is to mobilize and invest funds to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and also financially benefit local communities (p. i).
  • Component 1: Community Restoration of Degraded off-reserve forests and Agricultural Landscapes (p. ii) 
    • Output 1: Degraded forest rehabilitated and woodlots established
      • Target: 6,200 ha planted by 2018
    • Output 3: Conservation of off reserve remnant forest and sacred groves 
      • Target: 80% of sacred groves managed with management plans and by-laws by 2018
  • Component 2: Promoting Climate Smart and Environmentally Responsible Cocoa and Agroforestry systems (p. iii)
    • Output 1 : Climate Smart Cocoa systems promoted 
      • Target: 16,000 ha increase in shade cocoa plantations by 2018
    • Output 2 : Climate Smart Agroforestry systems promoted 
      • Target: 10,000 ha increase in agroforestry by 2018
    • Output 3 : Soil carbon enhancement promoted 
      • Target: 9,000 farmers practicing improved fallow management practices by 2018
Enhancing Carbon Stocks in Natural Forests and Agroforest Landscapes (2014)
  • Component 2: Pilot Investments for Improved Forest and Landscape ($21,310,000): These will aim to establish and demonstrate improved forest and landscape management practices, while building the case for wider replication in terms of results. These pilots represent up-front investments required to restore/ protect/ reduce deforestation, and thus build on the REDD+ Readiness Process (p. 15).
    • Pilot 2.1: Enhancing Trees and Climate-Smart Practices in Agroforestry Corridors and Cocoa Landscapes on Farms with Communities. This pilot will focus on drivers of deforestation and land degradation on community managed agroforestry and cocoa cultivation landscapes in selected corridors in a target corridor linking several Forest Reserves of the HFZ (p. 15-16).
      • Activities will aim to secure and enhance trees in corridors with community-based institutions, enhance trees and climate smart cocoa with farmers both in corridor landscapes and on admitted farms and to deploy integrated landscape planning in support of community based resource decisions.
      • Activities will enhance carbon stocks in the agroforestry and cocoa landscape by scaling up support to smallholder farmers to increase protection of existing trees, planting of new trees, practicing agroforestry and shade grown climate smart cocoa production.
      • Activities will aim to improve the care and maintenance of trees on private farmland, by devolving management responsibilities and improving incentives, coupled with extension and communication efforts.   
    • Pilot 2.2: Pilot Investments on Forest Reserves for Reducing Degradation, Enrichment Planting, Nurseries, and Plantation Development for Restoring Degraded Forest Landscapes (p. 16).
      • This pilot will aim to reduce further degradation of permanent forest estates; enhance habitat and carbon stocks through enrichment planting and nursery development, and facilitate enabling conditions for plantation investment. 
      • It will target severely degraded landscapes, emphasize community involvement and promote ecologically and commercially important native species, thus helping to address the imbalance in timber supply and demand. 
Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects
5221 -- PSG-Additional financing - Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (2014)
  • Expected Outcomes (p. 1)
    • Good management practices in existing forests
    • Good LULUCF management practices in forest landscape
  • Project Framework: Component 2: Water and Land Management (Finance: $8,310,000 grant + $57,000,000 co-financing = $65.31 M)
    • Expected outcomes: restored and enhanced carbon stocks in forests/non-forest lands (p. 2).
    • Expected outputs: enrichment planting and natural regeneration in degraded forest reserve areas (p. 3).
FLR Assessments

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