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Specified risks related to 13 sub-categories
Full Timber Legally Risk AssessmentList of Applicable LegislationTimber Mitigation GuideDocument Guide
Ghana has a forest area covering 7,985,000 ha Ghana’s forests are classified into;
The forests are mainly found in the high forest zone; and savannah woodlands zone. Forest reserves (production and protection forest), plantations in FRs, and protected areas (PAs) are on stool/skin lands but vested in Ghana’s president and managed by the forestry commission (FC).
Stools and skins refer to traditional leaders in Ghana (north and south). Traditional leaders or chiefs in the northern half of Ghana sit on the skin of animals. The northern part of Ghana is mainly savanna vegetation and has lots of wildlife and parks so by tradition the people use skin of animals. Traditional leaders in the southern half of Ghana which is the high forest zone sit on stools carved from the trees in the forest. ‘Stool land’ is used for both north and south land in Ghanaian laws. "Stool land" includes land controlled by a person for the benefit of the subjects or members of a stool, clan, company or community, and the land in the Upper and Northern Regions other than land vested in the President and accordingly "stool" means the person exercising that control or the authority or position of the traditional leader.
Submerged forest (SF) and private plantations on OFRs are owned by chiefs, families, individuals, and public institutions. Private plantations in FRs are under special benefit-sharing arrangements with investors, whereas plantations in OFRs are usually leased or established by landowners.
The Forest Services Division (FSD) monitors harvesting operations on-site, including stumpage fee computation, through harvest and post-harvest inspections by FSD technical officers. The Resource Management Support Centre and FC also conduct quarterly monitoring of field inspections.
Before harvesting in any FR compartment or OFR area, the FSD conducts an inventory of all trees. A tree information form (TIF) that captures details of each tree felled is prepared by the FSD technical officer. The company completes a log information form (LIF) to cover logs produced from each tree. A log measurement and conveyance certificate are prepared by the FSD for trucking logs from the forest to the processing site or point of sale. Transported logs are certified by the Timber Industry Development Division. For forest plantations, TIF and LIF are replaced by the Plantation production certificate.
The Ghana FLEGT VPA Ghana entered into Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) on 1st December 2009 under the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme. The FLEGT VPA is a legally binding agreement. It seeks to prevent illegal logging and improve forest governance by ensuring that timber exported to Europe from the partner country complies with all legal requirements of the country's forest laws. Ghana has since been implementing various aspects of the agreement. The forest sector now has been influenced largely by actions implemented as part of this agreement. Ghana’s VPA with the EU applies to both domestic and international markets. Under the VPA, Ghana has developed a Legality Assurance System (GhLAS) comprising Legality standard, verification protocols, wood tracking system (GWTS) and licensing system. All information required to demonstrate the legality of any volume of timber traded must be held in the WTS. Several legal reforms have also been carried out, resulting in Legislative Instrument (LI) Timber Resources Management and Legality Licensing Regulations, 2017 (LI 2254).
Among other initiatives to curb illegality within the forest sector, the Validation of Legal Timber Programme (VLTP) was designed in 2007 to tackle some of the identified gaps within the Ghana forest control system, including:
The GhLAS is implemented by the Timber Validation Department (TVD) of the Forestry Commission (FC), Forest Services Division (FSD) of FC, Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of FC, and Civil Society Organisations. Implementation is overseen by the Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism, Multi-stakeholder implementation Committee, Ministry of Lands Forestry and Mines, and Timber Validation Committee. The GhLAS defines legal timber and provides a set of principles, criteria, and indicators, a performance standard used for auditing. The standard clarifies the evidence required to demonstrate compliance with all the Timber Legality Licence/FLEGT licence requirements. These requirements are provided in the Legislative Instrument, L.I. 2254.
The GWTS ensures that timber entering the supply chain originates from legal sources and that timber flows are controlled throughout the supply chain. The GWTS is predominantly electronic and used to monitor and track operators' compliance along the chain of custody of timber from the forest gate to the point of export or on the domestic market. The GWTS has been extensively and intensively field-tested during the roll-out exercise, which included a range of small-medium and large companies and was effective and efficient, providing real-time data reconciliation along the chain of custody.
The final report of Ghana and the European Union (EU) independent assessment of the legality assurance system described in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on FLEGT between Ghana and the EU, which was shared with both parties on 31 December 2020, concluded that the system was not ready due to several gaps, including the effective resolution of non-compliances associated with the supply chain. Ghana has an Independent Monitor (IM) that monitors the GhLAS to ensure that it functions effectively and is fit for its purpose. The IM’s work covers the entire timber supply chain, starting from the forest through to the domestic market, shipping at ports in Ghana, and the receiving points of competent authorities in the EU.
Since 2014, the IM has undertaken annual audits. Each audit report raises corrective action requirements, which helps enhance the robustness of the GhLAS. Since January 2018, the FSD of FC has been implementing the GWTS alongside the existing manual system, helping to identify challenges with the GWTS which need to be addressed before a total switch to the GWTS. When the system becomes fully operational, and issuance of the FLEGT License begins, the GWTS will help to check illegalities in the timber industry, such as discrepancies in the classification of species, wood qualities and quantities, and ensure the use of required timber rights or permits and implementation of social obligation requirements by operators.
Illegal logging is a considerable problem in Ghana. The chainsaw logging that supplies over 70% of the domestic market is considered illegal (EU FLEGT, 2015). Numerous problems are said to exist with logging permits (EU FLEGT Facility, 2015), harvesting levels significantly exceed the annual allowable cut (itself said to exceed a sustainable level), and a survey of experts' perceptions of the level of illegal logging resulted in an average estimate of 49% of total log production (Hoare, 2014). Several legal risks are present in Ghanaian timber supply chains. The risks are wide-ranging and appear across all categories of law. If you are sourcing timber from Ghana you should take care to ensure the extensive risks identified are not present in your supply chains or have been sufficiently mitigated. VIEW LESS
A natural forest within Ghana’s forest reserves (permanent forest estates).
These forests are on stool/skin lands and owned by stools and skins, of which chiefs are the custodians but vested in Ghana’s president and managed by the Forestry Commission. Small-Scale Timber Utilisation Contracts (Small-Scale TUC), Large-scale Timber Utilisation Contracts (Large-scale TUC), and Salvage permits are the applicable permits to this source of timber.
The natural forest outside Ghana’s forest reserves, on land owned by stools and skins, families, individuals, and public institutions. The FC shall assess if the land qualifies as a small or large scale TUC based on area and timber stock if a landowner wants to allocate a TUC to a company.
Small-Scale Timber Utilisation Contracts (Small-Scale TUC), Large-scale Timber Utilisation Contracts (Large-scale TUC), and Salvage permits are the applicable permits to this source of timber.
Plantations established by the Forestry Commission are managed by the Forestry Commission, whereas private plantations are under special benefit-sharing arrangements with investors. The entry and salvage permits are applicable permits to plantations established and managed by the Forestry Commission or private investors. The Forestry Commission monitors plantations and issues the Plantation Production Certificate for plantations, replacing the requirements for tree information form (TIF) and the log information form (LIF). Log Measurement and Conveyance Certificate to convey harvested products is required.
This type of plantation does not need any permit to operate or harvest, but a Log Measurement and Conveyance Certificate to convey harvested products is required.
Underwater forests, off-reserve, on a stool and family lands. The Forestry Commission grants timber harvesting rights through salvage permits for Volta Lake in Ghana.
There are no management requirements related to harvesting wood from submerged forests. However, there are requirements for harvesting, health and safety of the workers, legal employment, environmental requirements, and trade and transport of the timber.
FSC certified area:
0.023 Mha, updated April 1, 2023