Economic cost of deforestation in semi-deciduous forests — A case of two forest districts in Ghana
The ecological, economic and socio-cultural roles of forests are under threat in Ghana due to the high rate of deforestation. Efforts are being made to combat this problem through rehabilitation measures. However, the costs of deforestation and restoration benefits are not adequately estimated. This paper fills in the gap in knowledge by providing an empirical estimation of the cost of deforestation in monetary terms. Primary data collected regarding timber, non-timber forest products and soils in semi-deciduous forests were analyzed using opportunity cost and replacement cost techniques. The results emphasize differences in the value of these forest goods and services lost annually. The largest losses were in stumpage fees, edible fruits, and avoided carbon emissions values. The results show that US$133,650,000 gross revenue, equivalent to 2.6% of the 2008 agricultural sector Gross Domestic Product, is lost annually. It can be concluded that restoring the degraded forest lands would bring benefits particularly to the local communities through increased stumpage revenues and harvest of non-timber forest products, as well as additional funds from carbon credits. It is recommended that stakeholders of forest resources are made aware of these costs in order to raise awareness of what they are losing through deforestation.
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