Biodiversity in Dry Semi-Deciduous Forest Zone: Comparison between Natural Forest, Cleared Forest and Teak Plantations in Ghana

Project Team: Kankam, B.O., Opuni-Frimpong, E., Ofori-Boateng, C.A., Duah-Gyamfi , A. and Mensah, J.K.

Background

Th e continuous loss of forest cover over the years and its consequent devastating effect on global environmental conditions necessitated the use of planted forests worldwide. In 2007, it was estimated that 121,127 hectares of plantations mainly from exotic species such as teak, cedrela, Gmelina, pines and eucalyptus had already been established in Ghana. However, the extent to which these plantations support biodiversity is unknown. Plantation may a ffect biodiversity either positively or negatively yet, we do not know how different wildlife may respond to di fferent plantation types (especially  teak as pursued in this research). Given that many forest organisms depend on old-growth microhabitats, there is a priori reason to expect differences in relative abundance and diversity of species (e.g. amphibians, butterflies, macrofungi) in natural forests and plantations.

The study makes preliminary inferences about the biodiversity changes associated with plantation establishment (in this case in the dry semi-deciduous forest zone) in Ghana which may also identify the species most vulnerable to fragmentation. e objectives are as follows:
1. To examine and compare the amphibian and bu er y communities in a natural forest, cleared forest and teak plantations.
2. To examine and compare the diversity and abundance of macrofungi.
3. To assess and compare the diversity and abundance of seedlings and saplings.