The Forest Fire Problem of Degrading Tain II Forest Reserve in Ghana: Rethinking Community Participation in Fire Management and Sustainable Forestry

  • Enock Akwasi Kosoe
  • Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei
  • William Oduro
Keywords: Community forestry, fire management, local participation, forest degradation, Tain II Forest Reserve, Ghana

Abstract

Until 1983, uncontrolled wildfires were relatively uncommon especially in the forest zones of Ghana. However, the period following the 1980s has seen a significant rise in wildfires, with devastating effects on forest resources and sustainable agricultural livelihoods. Thus, the rise in wildfire incidence in Ghana since 1983 raises questions about the effectiveness of fire management strategies adopted over time. In this study, we compare the effectiveness of indigenous fire management systems before 1983 and conventional fire management systems introduced after the 1983 fires in fringed communities around the Tain II forest reserve. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques were used to collect data from five communities. A total sample of 438 respondents comprising household heads and fire volunteer squads were interviewed. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Respondents were of the view that despite the current challenges associated with their use, indigenous fire management systems could be more effective in curbing wildfires than the conventional fire management systems currently being employed. It is concluded that the success or failure of wildfire management in forest-fringed zones of Ghana depends on the degree of participation of local communities and institutions and the adequacy of support given to local fire volunteer squads.

Keywords: Community forestry; fire management; local participation; forest degradation; Tain II Forest Reserve; Ghana

Published
2016-01-25
Section
Articles

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print ISSN: 0855-9414