Master of Science (MS)


Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type



Forestry is a major contributor to the Ghanaian economy and has the potential to increase its contribution if a number of challenges are overcome. Over the past 15 years, Ghana has modified its forest policies, laws, and regulations, but still faces serious challenges with illegal logging and unsustainable forest management. At the same time, Ghana’s major wood product trading partner, the European Union (EU), is requesting that Ghana, under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), ensures that wood products from Ghana to the EU are legally produced. Additionally, several EU wood product importers have requested their suppliers in Ghana to meet certification requirements. To date, efforts by Ghanaian companies to achieve certification have not been successful. Certification can potentially address forest management challenges facing tropical countries like Ghana, while enhancing the export of wood products to environmentally sensitive markets, such as the EU. This research was conducted to identify the underlying causes for Ghanaian companies’ inability to meet certification requirements and the implications for forest management and timber exports from Ghana. The research was conducted in Ghana from May to August 2009. Mail surveys supported by field assessment of forest management practices were the main research methods used. In addition, interviews were conducted with key contacts from the four groups studied: policymakers, loggers, wood processors/exporters, and wood product importers from Ghana. Results suggest that current forest management practices in Ghana are unsustainable. Forest management certification was found to have a positive impact on forest management, but is unlikely to be an effective mechanism in influencing overall forest management practices. Respondents identified illegal logging, corruption, and weak enforcement of forest laws as the key impediments to sustainable forestry in Ghana. In spite of the increasing demand for certified wood products by European importers, results indicate that Europe is the primary destination for respondent wood exports. The most significant conclusion is that the government should undertake institutional roles reform to transfer key forest management functions to companies that adhere to government standards, while addressing the underlying factors of corruption, illegal logging, and weak enforcement of forest laws through a broader stakeholder consultative process.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Vlosky, Richard P.