Digitisation of Indigenous Knowledge in the Forestry Sector in Ghana

Project Team: Margaret Sraku-Lartey, Stella Britwum Acquah, Sparklar Samar Brefo, Gloria Djagbletey and Naomi Appiah

Client: Elsevier Foundation

Project Duration: 2015-2016

Background

In Ghana, there is hardly any system of recording, documenting and preserving indigenous knowledge (IK) or information, let alone a mechanism for capturing IK to cope with dynamic world needs. An option that can be pursued is for the IK so captured to be digitised and stored for later use. Digitisation is ideal for sharing, exchanging, educating, and preserving indigenous knowledge and cultures. This requires a clear design for metadata standards and procedures, multimedia technologies and appropriate structures for access and use.

The objectives for this project are to:

  1. Identify, capture, document and digitise indigenous knowledge on forest foods and medicinal plants.
  2. Create a database of indigenous knowledge so identified
  3. Share knowledge of useful IK practices and their usage and thereby preserve the information to promote their wider application.
  4. Establish a relationship between the knowledge identified and modern science
  5. Develop a manual of procedures and best practices to document the knowledge so identified
  6. Train researchers, librarians and information management personnel in the management of indigenous knowledge.
  7. Explore the importance of indigenous knowledge systems in livelihood and socio-economic development in Ghana
  8. Assess the contribution of indigenous knowledge to scientific research

 

Savanna Forest Boundary Transition in West Africa –Coupling the Energy Balance and Hydrology and Carbon Cycles across the Biome zot

Project Team: Adu-Bredu, S. and Ametsitsi, G.K.D.

Collaborators: Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology Group, Wageningen University

Background

GEOCARBON is an European FP7 project with a global perspective, with the ultimate aim to lay the foundations for an operational Global Carbon Observing and Analysis System in support to both science and policy. Th e loss of most transitional forest over a distance of 150 km nationwide (“savanisation”) particularly in the zone of transition (ZOT) in Ghana has been dramatic. It has been a source of livelihood for fringe communities and supplies ecosystem services such as charcoal, grazing and medicinal herbs, in addition the ZOT has a unique biodiversity conservation value. The adjacent forest and savanna systems in the ZOT are uniquely de fined by space and time scale and interactions, which support a mix of these vegetation types under the same climatic conditions. In this project, the aim is to study vegetation interaction with soil, climate and edaphic factors in a forest savanna-ecotone in West Africa, to elucidate the dynamics of vegetation change in the light of fi re mediated feedbacks and alternate states of forest and savanna. The study is being conducted in the Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve in Ghana.

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Does shifting Carbon Use Efficiency determine the Growth Rates of intact and disturbed Tropical Forests? Gathering new evidence from African forests

Project Team: Adu-Bredu, S., Owusu-Afriyie, K., Duah-Gyamfi , A., Addo-Danso, S.D., Djagbletey,G.D., Amponsah Manu, E. and Adu-Opoku, A.

Collaborators: School of Geography and the Environment, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Background

Tropical forests play a major role in the global carbon cycle, by storing a substantial amount of carbon in biomass and soil, and by regulating transfer of this stored carbon into the atmosphere as greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Tropical forests in Amazonia and Africa appear to be increasing in biomass, absorbing around 12±3 % of current anthropogenic CO emissions (and the rate of rise of atmospheric CO2 would be about 17% higher without this tropical sink), but the continuity of this biomass carbon sink is uncertain. Improved understanding of productivity, carbon cycling and carbon use e fficiency (the ratio of net primary production to gross primary production), and their controlling factors is essential to improve att empts to accurately model tropical forest
carbon cycling, and their potential responses to future environmental changes. Th e project therefore seeks to address the relative importance of photosynthesis and autotrophic respiration in determining forest function in intact and disturbed tropical African forests. To achieve this comprehensive carbon cycle assessment plots have been established and replicated across two contrasting countries in Africa namely, Ghana (West Africa) and Gabon (Central Africa). In Ghana, the project is implemented in di fferent ecological zones namely: the Bobiri Forest Reserve (moist semi-deciduous zone), Ankasa Forest Reserve (wet evergreen zone) and the Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve (dry semi-deciduous zone).

Development of Building Blocks made of Stabilized Laterite and Agricultural Residues as an environmentally friendly alternative to Cement Blocks in Ghana

Project Team: Appiah-Kubi, E., Strautmann, J., Owusu, F.W., Appiah, J.K., Tekpetey, S.L., Damnyag, L., Essien, C., Sekyere, D. and Ofori, J.

Background

Housing continues to be a major problem in many African countries. In Ghana, the cost of building materials is high and many poor families live in congested and overcrowded cities. Laterite is a readily available building material which has been used for many years by local people in villages who cannot a ord cement for building construction. Agricultural residues such as corn and rice husks and sawdust from processing industries that are potential raw materials for building are mostly, burnt in the open causing air pollution. Th is project is in collaboration with Bern University of Applied Sciences, Architecture Wood & Civil Engineering, Switzerland and CSIR-BRRI, and is in two main phases. The fi rst project phase is concerned with the collection and analysis of readily available raw materials such as sawdust, corn stalk with the husk, rice husk and palm fi bres

Allanblackia: Standard Setting and Sustainable Supply Chain Management (Phase II)

Project Team: Anglaaere, L.C.N., Blay, D., Damnyag, L., Dabo, J., Owusu, S. and Manu, E.

Background

Th is project, which is sponsored by the Swiss Economic Cooperation Organization (SECO), is a continuation of a fi rst phase that focused on establishing biological baselines for Allanblackia (AB) within five communities in the Western Region. It involved an assessment of phenology of species (flowering, fruiting, fruit size and number of seeds per pod), regeneration and growth rates of the Allanblackia tree on farms and in the forest. Following a successful completion of this phase, a proposal was made for a second phase to move the AB programme forward and to, among other things, increase population of AB within the landscape. Th e project was consequently up-scaled to cover 8 communities in the Western Region.

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Advancing REDD+ in Ghana: Preparation of REDD+ Pilot Schemes in Off-Reserve Forests and Agroforests

Project Team: Oduro, K.A., Agyeman, V.K., Foli, E. & Damnyag, L.

Background

Th is project is preparing a major support component to Ghana’s Readiness Preparation Proposal (RPP) and aims at strengthening Ghana’s capacities to prevent and reduce deforestation and forest degradation and enhance carbon stocks (REDD+). It lays out the ground work for the development or enhancement of off -reserve production systems under REDD+ schemes, in line with e ort to reduce GHG emissions in forests. Th e present REDDES project is a preparatory step for an additional support component for the implementation of Ghana’s R-PP and is mainly concerned with developing a number of analytical works and the de finition of REDD+ pilots in off -reserve areas. Th e project
This also aimed at developing a framework to guide the implementation of REDD+ from the national to the local level. is shall allow Ghana to take stock of existing initiatives that have the potential to be considered under REDD+, as well as to concretely analyze promising REDD+ activities, which will be an integral part of the RPP.

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Development and implementation of a species identi cation and timber tracking system in Africa with DNA fingerprints and Stable Isotopesm

Project Team: Opuni-Frimpong, E., Mensah, J., Bandoh, W., Opoku Mensah, E., Govina, J. and Ofori, E.

Background

Illegal logging and trade in illegal timber and wood products are the cause of many economic and ecological problems in both producer and consumer countries. Although instruments have been established against illegal logging and trade, at both national and regional levels, practicable control mechanisms to identify the origin of timber and wood products are lacking. Such methods of identifying types of wood and timber origins are fundamental prerequisites for e fficient import controls or corresponding origin testing by the timber industry. Existing timber tracking systems use paper-based records of timber origin at all levels of the documentation process. The tests presently used, for example in the scope of the CITES international species protection convention, meet their limits in many tropical tree species. New methods that are on the threshold of usability are DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes. The innovative character of these new methods stem from the fact that characteristics inherent to the timber are used instead of externally applied marks.

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Rehabilitation of Degraded Forests for Sustainable WoodFuel Production and Climate Change Mitigation in the Forest-Savanna Transition Zone of Ghana

Darko-Obiri, B., Obeng, E.A., Oduro, K.A., Peprah, T., Damnyag, L., Derkyi,N.S.A., Opuni-Frimpong, E., Nutakor, E. and Adjei, R.

An important product derived from forests and woodland is wood fuel, which accounts for over 85% of the total energy consumption of West African countries and provides for the energy needs of most households. e Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ (IPCC) fourth assessment report on mitigation of climate change puts wood fuel as the only source of fuel for one third of the world’s population with this demand expected to double in the next 50 years. e IPCC report continues to estimate the world wide harvesting of wood as 60% industrial round wood and the remaining 40% as wood fuel, primarily charcoal and  firewood. Though wood fuel is the most common form of biomass, it is currently not easily accessible because of the fast rate of degradation of the natural forest. In Ghana, wood fuel consumption increased from about 18.4 million cubic meter in 1990 to about 33 million cubic meter in 2006, largely in response to population growth. The Energy Commission of Ghana estimates that wood fuel consumption in Ghana is twice as large as other energy sources, including electricity and petroleum and over 90% of rural households depend on wood fuel for cooking. Th e use of LPG in Ghana on the other hand accounts for only 4−6% of the residential sector’s energy needs and is only concentrated in the urban areas, mostly among the middle and higher income groups in society.

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Democratic Representation in Ghana’s REDD+ Process

Project Team Leader: Marfo, E.

Background

Stakeholder participation and consultation at the national and sub-national levels is an important pillar for the development of REDD+. Ghana claims to have developed its REDD Readiness Plan through a highly participatory and consultative process using the notion of stakeholder representation in designing the institutional architecture for participation. The rhetoric of democratic representation is highly visible in Ghana’s constitution and forest policy statements but to what extent was the espoused democratic principles regarding representation implemented by intervening authorities who designed and implemented the REDD Readiness strategy consultative process.

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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services from Remnant Forest/Sacred Groves: The Case of Tano Sacred Grove

Project Team: Bosu, P.P., Djagbletey, G., Ametsitsi, G.,Addo-Danso, S., Foli, E.G. and Cobbinah, J.R.

Background

Sacred groves are small areas of intact or slightly degraded primary forests reserved for religious and traditional rites. Th ese forest islands remain among the most valuable biodiversity hotspots for which much could be obtained for the conservation and sustainable management of forests for the future. e focal objectives of the study were to:
1. Assess the potential of the Tano Sacred Grove (TSG) to provide the ecosystem service of pollination to the surrounding agricultural landscape.
2. Determine soil nutrients and carbon stocks in the TSG and the various land-use types.

Characterization and Efficient Utilization of emerging Wood Fuel Species for Charcoal Production in the Savanna Transition Zone of Ghana

Project Team: Sparkler, B.S., Obiri, B.D., Derkyi, N.S.A., Dabo, J. and Adjei, R.

Background

Ninety percent (90%) of wood fuel supply in Ghana is derived directly from the natural forest. Over exploitation of traditional hard wood species such as Anogeissus leiocarpus (Kane), Milicia excelsa (Odum) and Khaya senegalensis (Mahogany) has resulted in scarcity of these species. Th is has led to charcoal producers switching to new soft wood species, which produce loads of charcoal dust, burns quickly, and generates charcoal of poor quality. In spite of this shi\Z in tree species used for charcoal production, there is virtually no empirical information on the emerging wood fuel species that are used for charcoal production.

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