JÍRN ACKERMANN1, REINHOLD GLAUNER2
1University of Hannover, Chair of World Forestry, Germany
2Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products, Institute for World Forestry, Germany
The project area is located in the Ashanti Region of Ghana/West Africa in the transition zone of the moist semi deciduous forest and tropical savannah zone. Main land use in this region is subsistence agriculture with large fallow areas. As an alternative land use, forest plantations are under development by the Ghanaian wood processing company DuPaul Wood Treatment Ltd.. Labourers from the surrounding villages are employed as permanent or casual plantation workers.
Within their three forest plantation projects of approximately 6000ha, DuPaul offers a 164ha area (referred to as Papasi Plantation) - which is mainly planted with Teak (Tectona grandis) - for research purposes. In return, the company expects consultations to improve the management for sustainable timber and pole production with exotic and native tree species. In a first research approach, the Papasi Plantation was assessed in terms of vegetation classification, timber resources (in qualitative and quantitative terms) and soil and site conditions. A permanent sampling plot system was established to enable long-term monitoring of stand dynamics including observation of stand response to silvicultural treatments. Site conditions are ideally suited for Teak and some stands show exceptionally good growth performances. However, poor weed management and a lack of fire control and silvicultural management led to high mortality and poor growth performance of some stands, resulting in relative low overall growth averages. In a second step, a social baseline study was carried out in the surrounding villages and identified landowner conflicts between some villagers and DuPaul, which could be one reason for the fire damages. However, the study also revealed a general interest for a collaboration in agroforestry on DuPaul land on both sides.
Thirdly, a silvicultural management concept was elaborated and an improved integration of the rural population into DuPaul's forest plantation projects is already initiated. If landowner conflicts can be solved, the development of forest plantations can contribute significantly to the economic income of rural households while environmental benefits provide long-term opportunities for sustainable development of the region.
Keywords: Forest plantation, Ghana, growth, rural development, silviculture, Teak