Forest degradation and deforestation is high on the international forest agenda, and in countries with a strong timber industry and dwindling forest resource such as Ghana, this poses severe threats to the sustainability of the industry as well as of the resource itself. To curb this, forest plantations are being established to supplement the rapidly declining timber resource base to meet the country's demand for timber. Concerns have been raised about the future timber productions from the plantations and natural forests due to poor management and widespread illegal logging. This study assesses the trends of the growing stock in the main production systems and recent development that has led to the current state of the forest resources in the high forest zone of Ghana. Analysis of national forest inventories data and timber harvesting records in Ghana highlights the trend of the growing stock in timber production areas and the increasing gap between timber demand and supply, which drives illegal logging. Current plantation establishment efforts are not sufficient to bridge the gap between demand and supply of timber, partly due to low establishment rates and lack of appropriate management of newly established plantations. Secure tenure and rights to on-farm trees appears to be a key condition to stimulate large scale planting of forest trees by farmers and other investors. Reform in the management practices is required to align timber harvesting levels to sustainable timber production in Ghanaian forests.
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Vol. 16 • No. 3