One of the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has added Ghana in its 2020 deforestation fronts report published in January this year. Other new entrance from West Africa includes Liberia and Ivory Coast.
The report, titled Deforestation Fronts: Drivers and Responses in a Changing World, looks at the state of forests and causes of deforestation in 24 “active deforestation fronts” (MAP), which account for over half of all tropical and subtropical deforestation that occurred over the 14-year period.
WWF identified these deforestation fronts based on the likelihood that these areas would experience high rates of forest loss between 2010 and 2030.Pictorial presentation of WWF report
Using satellite-based datasets, the report mentioned smallholder farming as the key driver of forest loss in Ghana, accompanied by small scale timber. The other two are fuel and charcoal and mining.
The addition of Ghana to the deforestation front has come as no surprise to many, especially when it has consistently continued to lose many of its protected reserve over the years.
An analysis of satellite data published in the year 2019 for instance by U.S.-based World Resource Institute (WRI), found Ghana experienced the biggest relative increase in primary forest loss of all tropical countries in 2018. According to the report, the loss of Ghana’s primary forest cover jumped 60 percent from 2017 to 2018 – almost entirely from its protected areas.
In response to WRI’s report, the Ghanaian government issued a statement through its Forestry Commission denying the findings. In its statement, the Forestry Commission said the WRI report was based on a faulty methodology as well as a misunderstanding of current controlled agricultural practices in Ghana. It refuted the 60 percent figure, saying instead that Ghana’s primary forest loss had increased by 31 percent between 2017 and 2018.
A publication by data analytics company Satelligence later affirmed WRI’s findings that Ghana deforestation did indeed experience a 60 percent jump.
The current inclusion of Ghana to the deforestation front by the WWF has also gone to confirm how the country is losing its natural resources through many illegal activities.A clear-cut area 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) wide was carved from Tano-Offin early part of the year 2019. Imagery from Planet Labs, accessed via Global Forest Watch. Source: Mongabay.org
By Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda
Source: GH Environment
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