Carving out indigenous tree species to sustain rural livelihood
Wood carving is an age old business well known for its cultural and economic significance. The industry is characterized by commercial carving activities creating employment for different categories of people in both rural and urban centres across Ghana. However, the over-dependence on a few selected indigenous tree species for carving is a source of concern, threatening local livelihoods and survival of the industry. This study sought to investigate the sources, availability and sustainability of tree species used, awareness of alternative species for carving and the contribution of the wood carving business to livelihood. It was evident that over 80% of respondents interviewed depend solely on carving business for their livelihoods. Only two tree species, which is species from the ebony group (Diospyros spp.) and Holarrhena floribunda out of the 14 tree species identified were frequently used. The study also showed that current supply of wood resources is unsustainable and there are no attempts by people in the business to establish plantations. This was attributed to difficulty in land acquisition, lack of access to credit, apathy and the long maturity period required for most forest trees. Immediate action is required to address these challenges to sustain the wood carving industry and the livelihood of the people.