The deforestation rate in Ghana has been alarming in recent years, caused by activities such as logging, conversion of forest to agricultural lands, illegal chainsaw logging, and mining operations. Efforts to curb deforestation have been ad-hoc with limited impact, such as the collaborative forest management that included the establishment of community forest committees but never achieved the expected outcomes due to abuse of power in some communities. The enforcement of forest legislation has also not been very effective. Together, these problems have made the fight against deforestation even more challenging.
In an effort to find a lasting solution to the illegal logging menace and so reduce deforestation, Friends of the Earth-Ghana (FoE-Ghana), has held over 50 community forest forums across six regions to discuss and find collective solutions to forest management problems in Ghana. Some of the communities are Awuransua, Kadewaso, Kumanini, Mofram (Eastern Region), Alavanyo, Abehenase (Volta Region), Numereso, Abuakwa (Ashanti Region), and Chine (Western Region). A major concern that emerged in all the forest districts and communities visited since 2014 has been that the communities have blamed the Forest Services Division (FSD) for the deforestation and illegal forest operations, while the FSD has blamed the communities. Community members often claim that FSD officials are conniving with illegal operators to commit the crimes, and that they do not properly enforce laws or monitor the forests frequently. Community members feel reluctant to report illegal activities because they are often betrayed by FSD officials who also fail to prosecute offenders.
FSD officials, on the other hand, claim that the illegal operators live in the communities and are protected by community members, and also that the communities sometimes resist the arrest of the perpetrators. They further mention that, in situations where illegal operators are not from the community, the community members give them accommodation and aid them in their operations. This they claim always hinders the fight against illegal operations and deforestation.