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A timber truck fully loaded with logs drives over a very simple wooden bridge in a forest.
© Thünen-Institut
A timber truck fully loaded with logs drives over a very simple wooden bridge in a forest.
Institute of

WF Forestry


Sustainable Forest Plantations in Ghana

Elaboration of a Management Plan for Sustainable Forest Plantations in Ghana

There is a huge international market demand for tropical timber. It mainly origins from natural forests which are endangered in their survival. Timber production in forest plantations could reduce the pressure from natural forests and simultaneously can contribute to future supply on the tropical timber market.

Background and Objective

Natural forests in West-Africa - with Ghana on top - have been seriously degraded or converted into other types of land-use during the last 20 years. The needed timber is therefore more and more produced in forest plantations. Due to lacking site analyses and missing silvicultural know-how many forest plantations have a high rate of mortality or perform low growth. We want to know, how high yield forest plantations can be established and monetary value can be increased under given site conditions in the transition zone to the west-African savanna. We want to establish a management system on a silvicultural-ecological basis which equally takes into account the conditions of the living environment and the requirements of the tree species.


We analyse whether the soil conditions match with the requirements of teak or alternative tree species. Climate data provide further details concerning the planting suitability of certain tree species. Seeds from appropriate sources must be organized and seedlings must be raised in our nurseries. Afterwards the seedlings are planted out on the spot and permanent sample plots are set up to monitor the tree growth. We apply tending operations like thinnings in order to increase the quality of the timber and the tree growth. We open up new income sources for the local population to prevent land-use conflicts at the margin of the plantations.

Data and Methods

Our analyses are based on forest site surveys to safeguard that the growth conditions are matching with the foreseen tree species or to indicate alternatives. Growth data are collected on a yearly basis and mass tables are elaborated. Furthermore we analyse the socioeconomic conditions of the local population to know and consider their demands and needs in fringes of the forest plantations.


We showed that teak plantations are an economically sound land-use alternative to common slash and burn on suitable soils in the transition zone to the savanna of Ghana. Our teak plantations performed an average yield of up to 12 m³/ha/a on good sites in a 10-years’ period. On nutrient poorer soils tropical pine species proofed to be an interesting alternative. Mass tables and a thinning concept have been elaborated on the basis of regular inventories.  Additionally we introduced a system under which interested farmers raise trees on their land for wood buyers (outgrower system). This measure generates future income for the farmers. We convinced them to plant their trees in combination with staple crops and together with nitrogen fixing legumes which also serve as firewood. With this concept we could establish a sustainable land –use system as an alternative to slash and burn which might be transferable to other regions with similar problems.

 Further results: Numerous publications, diploma theses, master thesis.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Universität Hamburg
    (Hamburg, Deutschland)


3.2002 - 12.2013

More Information

Project status: finished

List of Publications

  1. 0

    Tom-Dery D, Schröder J-M, Struwe J (2014) Regeneration potential and stand structure of a proposed plantation site in the transition zone of Ghana. Int J Biodiv Conserv 6(3):238-246, DOI:10.5897/IJBC2012.134

  2. 1

    Tom-Dery D, Struwe J, Schröder J-M (2013) Mapping and tree species diversity of the forest savanna mosaic in Ashanti region, Ghana [online]. Afr J Agric Res 8(27):3608-3617, zu finden in <> [zitiert am 05.12.2013]

  3. 2

    Tom-Dery D, Schröder J-M (2011) Tree species abundance and regeneration potential of semi-deciduous forest fragments of the Ashanti region of Ghana. J Bot Res Inst Texas 5(2):733-742

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