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Risk Score
56.9
Risk Profile
Higher Risk
Conflict State
No
Log Export Restriction
Yes
Other Timber Export Restrictions
Yes
Import Regulation
No
Legality Risks Click for details on legality risks

Ghana was one of the first countries to have signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) in 2009. Thirteen years later, Ghana is poised to become the first country in Africa to issue Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) timber licenses, thereby enabling all its licensed timber products to automatically meet EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) legality requirements, facilitating their entry into the EU market. While Ghana has made significant efforts to develop a national system to track and verify legality and control illegal timber imported into the country, a December 2020 independent assessment of all aspects of Ghana’s licensing system concluded that the system was not ready for FLEGT licensing, and some corrective actions were required.

Ghana will begin issuing FLEGT licenses when the timber legality assurance system has been successfully tested, and when Ghana and the EU are satisfied that it functions as described in the VPA. In Europe, a FLEGT licence denotes complete compliance with the EUTR for European importers, however, a FLEGT licence may not in and of itself guarantee compliance with timber import regulations in other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Lacey Act in the United States. This dashboard summarizes currently available information on the legality risks associated with sourcing timber from Ghana.

  • Ghana is in the process of developing a mandatory system to verify the legality of timber production and trade and is expected to become the first African nation to issue Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licenses.
  • Illegal logging is reportedly declining but the illegal harvest and trade, particularly of high value species, continues to be reported. 
  • NGO reports have also documented concerns related to the illegal harvest and trade in kosso mainly destined for China and Southeast Asian markets even though there is a government directive banning the harvest of kosso.
  • The illegal trade in high value species is reportedly facilitated by hierarchical corruption and weak enforcement of forest laws.
  • Enforcement is improving with on the ground audits suggesting high levels of legal compliance by logging companies. 

Read more by downloading the Ghana Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.

Latest Updates Click for latest news from Ghana
January 19, 2024
New App deployed to curb illegal timber exploitation

A new device to track illegal logging from the country’s forests has been deployed in an effort to curb the incidence of illegal exploitation of the timber resources.

When fed with the documen­tation of the logs, Xylorix Pocket Wood, the App/device, will quickly scan them and give off the information about the woods being carried or conveyed.

 

198 customs officers, grading and inspection officers at the department of the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) and Civil Society Organ­isations (CSOs) have been trained on the use of the device.

More...
January 19, 2024
Mapping the diversity of land uses following deforestation across Africa

The first high-resolution (5 m) and continental-scale
mapping of land use following deforestation in Africa, including humid and dry forests.

 

Results show, not surprisingly,  that the causes of forest loss vary by region. In general, small-scale cropland is the
dominant driver of forest loss in Africa, with hotspots in Madagascar and DRC. In addition, commodity
crops such as cacao, oil palm, and rubber are the dominant drivers of forest loss in the humid forests of
western and central Africa, forming an “arc of commodity crops” in that region. At the same time, the
hotspots for cashew are found to increasingly dominate in the dry forests of both western and southeastern Africa, while larger hotspots for large-scale croplands were found in Nigeria and Zambia.

More...
January 15, 2024
Legislation allowing mining in forest reserves challenged

Legislation allowing mining in forest reserves challenged A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has petitioned the speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, to annul the Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) regulation, Legislative Instrument 2462 (L.I.). The L.I., they argued, allows institutionalised mining in forest reserves without restrictions, casting a shadow on the ecological integrity of the country’s forest resources and commitment to environmental sustainability and conservation. According to the CSOs, the said legislative instrument (L.I. 2462) violates the constitution and other laws that safeguard forests.  Also reported in ITTO MIS Jan 1-15 2024 https://www.itto.int/mis/

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January 5, 2024
Guinea Orders Legal Action Over Rosewood Export Fraud

Guinea’s Minister of Justice has ordered legal proceedings against four government officials over an alleged illegal export of hundreds of containers of critically endangered West African rosewood to China.

 

The note from Minister Alphonse Charles Wright cites allegations concerning illegal logging, violating timber trade regulations, corrupting public officials, public funds embezzlement and forgery.

 

The officials appear to have been involved in issuing fake export certificates for at least 377 containers (6,409 metric tonnes) of Pterocarpus erinaceus, or Kosso, a protected rosewood tree native to semi-arid forests of West Africa.

 

Ghana and Mali are also cited.

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October 16, 2023
Ghana secures new climate funding from International Finance Corporation

Ghana has unlocked new financing support for its climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives at the 2023 International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Group (WBG) Annual Meetings in Marrakech.

This comes as the World Bank’s International Finance Cooperation (IFC) pledges financing support to Ghana’s implementation of various climate change schemes, to stimulate sustainable growth, a liveable planet, and create more jobs for people.

 

Activities like deforestation, illegal logging, and unsustainable land-use practices, including illegal mining (galamsey) has led to the depletion of Ghana’s forest cover from the eight million tropical forest in 1900 to the current 2.7 million. This has exposed the country to adverse effects of climate change, resulting in some bush fires, drought, changes in rainfall pattern, rise in sea-level, and the salinity of coastal waters. The government, however, has developed various initiatives, including the Green Ghana Day to encourage Ghanaians to grow more trees to recover lost forest cover.

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August 10, 2023
World’s top food producers push back on deforestation rules

The world’s largest agriculture producers are pushing back against new European Union rules that require proof that crops weren’t grown on deforested land, which producers say will add to the cost of making food.

Examples and quotes from government and industry players in Brazil, Vietnam, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana cited.

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June 2, 2023
In Ghana, Sustainable Cocoa-Forest Practices Yield Carbon Credits

Cocoa farmers in Ghana are improving yields and mitigating climate change by adopting climate-smart cocoa practices while curbing deforestation.

 

Ghana has earned $4.8 million for reducing nearly 1 million tons of carbon emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation—with up to $45 million expected by the end of 2024.

 

Ghana and other countries are generating high-quality, high-integrity jurisdictional carbon credits to realize their climate goals and gain access to international carbon markets.

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May 20, 2023
Rosewood in Ghana still logged despite total ban — Chainsaw operator reveals

The government of Ghana has since 2019 completely banned the export of rosewood from the country to China.

 

A Ghenvironment.com investigation in April 2023 revealed how rosewood is still harvested and is transported to Tema port.

 

Also featured at ghenvironment.com

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May 18, 2023
Chiefs must answer to effects of illegal mining in their areas

Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II says he is unhappy with the spate of illegal mining that has ravaged lands in the Amansie area of the Ashanti Region.

 

“It is very sad that despite the several measures government has been putting in place to curb this menace, illegal logging and illegal mining continue to pose a threat to our forest, which means that government cannot do it alone, we must all get involved and support government.”

“I’m not happy with chiefs in the Amansie area where galamsey has taken over the land, and I say to them that if you sit there and you claim that you don’t know what is happening, then you’re not fit to be a chief over there.”

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May 16, 2023
Environmental court proposed in Ghana

Justice Camilus Mensah from ‘Hen Mpoano’ (Our Coast) a Non-Governmental Organisation has proposed the setting up of an environmental court to deal with environmental issues such as illegal mining in the county’s forests. Mr. Mensah disclosed this at a two-day workshop organised for police prosecutors and other security agencies on forest and environmental laws. He revealed that the development of laws on illegal logging and mining has been sporadic and ineffective and enforcement has failed mainly because of inadequate budgets and poor training of staff. See: https://newsghana.com.gh/ngo-advocates-the-creation-ofan-environment-court/

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May 4, 2023
Illegal mining threatens Ghana forests

Ghana’s widespread illegal mining activities are destroying the gold-rich West African country’s forests, the government’s forestry agency warned Tuesday at a news conference in Accra.

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April 20, 2023
Illegal logging in Africa is a threat to security

Drawing from Center fro Africa Strategic Stiudies  recent report, which is based on  recent research and programmatic work at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, we have analyzed three ways that illegal logging affects national security and what that means for current measures to counter it.

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December 17, 2022
How China’s Appetite for Rosewood Fuels Illegal Logging in Ghana

MOLE NATIONAL PARK, Ghana—Mbaaba Kaper stood in the middle of the illegal timber trafficking warehouse where he’d worked as a watchman for nearly six years. Grasping the edge of a graying trunk that reached his shoulders, Kaper said with a smile, “This one is rosewood.”

He was accomplished at identifying rosewood—the world’s most threatened hardwood. Rosewood exports have been banned in Ghana since 2019, but the vast Chinese-run trafficking network in which Kaper worked in Yipala, northern Ghana, was shut down by Ghanaian police only nine months before we visited in June. The immense trees logged during its operation remained on the ground as far as the eye could see.

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April 29, 2022
Full scale commercial charcoal business back despite ban on illegal logging

Some residents of the Savannah Region have expressed worry and disappointment in the traditional authorities and government for allowing commercial charcoal business in the region despite the ban. The canker has resurfaced in the region after a ban was placed on the activities illegal logging, charcoal burning, fuelwood harvesting and small scale mining activities as part of measures geared toward preserving forest reserves as well as prevent economically viable trees from being destroyed.

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April 27, 2022
Illegal chainsaw operators are threats to Western Wildlife Corridor

Illegal chainsaw operators engaged in felling of trees and extraction of natural resources are threatening the landscape and forest reserves of the Western Wildlife Corridor and the Northern Savannah Forest Zone.

More...
April 19, 2022
Cabinet action ends 25 year-old quest for legal timber in Ghana

Thursday, March 31, 2022 will be recorded in the annals of Ghana’s forestry sector as one of its most remarkable days. On this day, the current Cabinet, at its 26th meeting, approved the conversion of 156 timber concessions and permits into Timber Utilisation Contracts (TUCs), introduced as a major policy reform in the forestry sector to provide for a competitive system of allocating timber resources.

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March 30, 2022
55 illegal miners arrested in Atewa Forest – Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission, through its surveillance task force, has arrested 55 illegal miners in the Atewa Forest Reserve over the last six months. Madam Joyce Ofori Kwafo, Head, Corporate Affairs and Media Relations, Forestry Commission, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said a total of 15 different operations carried out between October 2021 and March 2022 led to the arrest of the culprits.

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March 28, 2022
Investigate negligence and connivance of Forestry Commission staff—Group

The Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape have called for a full investigation into the negligence and connivance of Forestry Commission staff at the Kyebi District Office in protecting the Atewa Forest. The Group, at a press conference, said illegal activities in the Atewa Forest had escalated in the past six months without any measures to protect and preserve the forest and its biodiversity.

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January 25, 2022
Gov’t introduces digitalized system to prevent illegal logging of trees

Ghana has for years remained a key exporter of timber. However, stakeholders have been struggling to deal with illegal felling of trees, which made timber exports from Ghana fall short of the European Union’s guidelines. In a bid to address the worrying situation and also improve revenue mobilization, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission have launched the digitalized property mark registration and renewal process and the Ghana electronic wood tracking system.

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January 16, 2022
Illegal logging in forest reserves is a national security issue – Forestry Commission

The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission has described illegal logging in forest reserves as a national security issue that calls for a holistic approach. John Allotey says the rampant issue, especially in Bono, Ahafo, and Western North corridors, threaten rich forest reserves and commission staff, especially forest guards.

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Publications Click for publications related to Ghana
Ghana was one of the first countries to have signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) in 2009. Twelve years later, Ghana is poised to become the first country in Africa to issue Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) timber licenses, thereby enabling all its licensed timber products to automatically […]
While subsistence agriculture and logging still contribute to deforestation, commercial-scale agricultural expansion is now recognized as by far the single largest driver of deforestation worldwide and thus also of greenhouse gas emissions from land-use change. Several initiatives have quantified how much and where deforestation is driven by commercial agriculture, and even how much of this […]
Rising demand for commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil, cocoa, coffee, and rubber is driving tropical deforestation globally, half of which is estimated to be illegal. Governments in the UK, EU, and the USA are now aiming to develop regulatory approaches to ensure imported agricultural commodities are not being sourced from deforested lands, or at[…]
This report, by Ghanaian Law Firm Taylor Crabbe, details the legislative and institutional framework for the protection of human and labor rights, and specifically child labor, in Ghana. It concludes that there is an elaborate existing legislative and institutional framework for the protection of labor and human rights in Ghana, including detailed laws and policies […]
Key Resources
Click here for a collection of Forest Trends publications related to IDAT Risk, including the full set of Timber Legality Risk Country Dashboards.
Methodology
Click here to download the Methodology which includes information on data sources, the methodology used to create risk indicators, and a glossary of key terms.
Data Tools

Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.

Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.

Export Restrictions
Click here to download a database of forest policy export restrictions.