Ghana's forests, particularly the timber resources, face an uncertain future, because of high deforestation rate, a rapidly declining timber resource base, rapid population growth and increasing demand for timber. This paper explores the future development of timber resource in Ghana by constructing scenarios and considering options policy-makers could take to ensure sustainable future development of the timber resource. Data was collected by reviewing the literature and consulting experts. The scenarios follow the deductive approach, exploring the potential interactions among key driving forces as selected by experts. The two most important driving forces for the future of timber resources selected by the experts were forest governance and resource demand. Four plausible scenarios were developed: legal forestry scenario with emphasis on improving the resource base to meet high demand; forest degradation, a business-as-usual scenario; forest transition, with emphasis on expanding the resource base in response to environmental concerns; and timber substitution scenario seeking to provide wood substitutes to conserve the resource base. The scenarios provide insights for policy making and strategic planning for forest resource management in Ghana. To ensure a sustainable future for timber resources, policy reform is needed, focusing on land and tree tenure, revenue capture, benefit-sharing schemes and satisfying the domestic demand for timber.
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Vol. 16 • No. 6