24.3% —or about 5,517,000 hectares—of Ghana is forested. Of this, 6.4% —or roughly 353,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Ghana lost an average of 135,400 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.82%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by 4.2% to 1.89% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Ghana lost 25.9% of its forest cover, or around 1,931,000 hectares. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Ghana lost 27.6% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Ghana has some 1185 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 0.8% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 3.0% are threatened. Ghana is home to at least 3725 species of vascular plants, of which 1.2% are endemic. 4.6% of Ghana is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Ghana Environmental profile


Ghana: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)22,754,000
Total Forest Area (ha)5,517,000
Percent Forest Cover24.25%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)353,000
Primary Forest, % total forest6.40%
Primary Forest, % total land1.55%
Other wooded land (ha)-

Ghana : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)100%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Ghana: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)353,0006.4%
Modified natural (ha | %)5,004,00090.7%
Semi-natural (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)160,0002.9%
Production plantation (ha | %)--

Ghana: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)7,448,000
Forest 2000 (ha)6,094,000
Forest 2005 (ha)5,517,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(135,400)-1.82%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(115,400)-1.89%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(1,931,000)-25.93%
Change in rate (%)4.17%
Primary 1990 (ha)353,000
Primary 2000 (ha)353,000
Primary 2005 (ha)353,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Other 1990 (ha)-
Other 2000 (ha)-
Other 2005 (ha)-
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-#DIV/0!
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-#DIV/0!
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-#DIV/0!
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Other 1990 (ha)50,000
Other 2000 (ha)60,000
Other 2005 (ha)160,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)1,0002.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)20,00033.33%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)110,000220.00%
Change in rate (%)1566.67%
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)7,398,000
Other 2000 (ha)6,034,000
Other 2005 (ha)5,357,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(136,400)-1.84%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(135,400)-2.24%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(2,041,000)-27.59%
Change in rate (%)21.71%

Ghana: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)353,000
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)353,000
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)1.55%

Ghana: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)100.0%
Private (%)0.0%
Other (%)0.0%
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)-
Private (%)-
Other (%)-
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)22.7%
Protection (%)6.4%
Conservation (%)0.8%
Social Services (%)1.2%
Multiple Services (%)-
None of Unknown (%)68.9%

Ghana: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)-
Insects (ha)-
Diseases (ha)-
Other (ha)-

Ghana: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20056
World Heritage sites, 20042
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land4.6%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land4.60%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20040.03%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 200410.83%

Ghana: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species72
endemic species4
threatened species10
total species729
endemic species0
threatened species8
total species249
endemic species1
threatened species15
total species135
endemic species5
threatened species2
Wildlife diversity
total species1185
endemic species10
threatened species35

Ghana: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species680
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered3
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic43
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened117

Ghana: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)726
Below-ground biomass (M t)267
Dead wood (M t)139
Total (M t)1,132
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)363
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)133
Carbon in dead wood (M t)70
Carbon in litter (M t)-
Soil carbon (M t)-
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)1,205
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)28,253
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)29,458
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)9
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)-
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)-
Bush meat (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)$31,265,000
Wood fuel (US$)-
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)$31,265,000
Total value ($USD/ha)$6
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed7,000

Ghana : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Ghana: Environment
Environment - current issuesrecurrent drought in north severely affects agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Natural hazardsdry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts

Ghana: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 16.26%
permanent crops: 9.67%
other: 74.07% (2001)
Natural resourcesgold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone

Ghana: Economy
Economy - overview:Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold, timber, and cocoa production are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 34% of GDP and employs 60% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program in 2002, but was included in a G8 debt relief program decided upon at the Gleneagles Summit in July 2005. Priorities under its current $38 million PRGF include tighter monetary and fiscal policies, accelerated privatization, and improvement of social services. Receipts from the gold sector helped sustain GDP growth in 2005 along with record high prices for Ghana's largest cocoa crop to date. Inflation should ease, but remain a major internal problem. Ghana also remains a candidate country to benefit from Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funding that could assist in transforming Ghana's agricultural export sector. A final decision on its MCC bid is expected for spring 2006.
GDP - per capita$2,500 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)4.3% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productscocoa, rice, coffee, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 35.5%, industry: 25.6%, services: 39% (2005 est.)
Industries mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building
Economic aid - recipient$6.9 billion (1999)
Debt - external$7.084 billion (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line (%)31.4% (1992 est.)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture 60%, industry 15%, services 25% (1999 est.)

Ghana: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)21,029,853
Population growth rate (%) (2005)1.25%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)91.1
Percent rural (2003)54.6%
Median age (years)total: 20.45 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)3.02 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)black African 98.5% (major tribes - Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%, Gurma 3%, Yoruba 1%), European and other 1.5% (1998)

Largest Cities in Ghana

Cities and urban areas in Ghana with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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