The West Gonja District is one of the major charcoal production hubs in Ghana. Like many other parts of Northern Ghana, the district is rich in biodiversity. The pace of deforestation poses a threat to indigenous biodiversity that would otherwise thrive in forested areas.
Harvesting of forest tree resources for firewood, charcoal production and other uses has been increasingly indiscriminate because the actors involved have no specialized knowledge regarding sustainable harvesting and use. The current pace of tree harvesting for charcoal production is highly unsustainable and communities are typically not aware of or do not fully appreciate its negative effects on the environment.
While the production of charcoal provides short term monetary benefits, the long-term continuity of this livelihood activity is under threat as most of the trees harvested are not being replaced. Recently, charcoal producers have even been harvesting hardwood species of high commercial export value, leading to inefficient economic use of forest resources. The high and increasing level of charcoal production in the district, has been fuelled by a growing demand for charcoal locally and in major urban areas such as Accra and Kumasi, with a growing population a few alternatives.
Despite the high level of habitat degradation, the level of biodiversity is still prominent. The presence of these biodiversity resources emphasizes the need to address the rapid rate of deforestation (for fuelwood and charcoal production) so as to reduce pressure on their critical habitats.