Neither fast, nor easy: the prospect of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Ghana

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On the basis of a detailed case study of the High Forest Zone of Ghana, the paper challenges the common narrative of REDD as being fast and easy. The paper analyses proximate and underlying causes of deforestation and degradation and finds that these processes are driven by multiple underlying causes. The paper goes on to argue that the causes of deforestation and degradation that are found within the realm of the forestry sector, to which REDD measures will be largely confined, have emerged as a result of a political economy that gives priority to economic development over forest conservation, while at the same time allowing powerful interest groups, in particular the political and administrative elite, to financially benefit from resource depletion. The analysis suggests that forest conserving policy reforms are unlikely to come fast and easy, and that the prospect of future REDD payments may not accelerate them. It is argued that the case of Ghana is not unique and that REDD implementation may face similar constraints in many developing countries.

Keywords: REDD policies and measures; causes of deforestation and forest degradation; forest governance; political economy; readiness

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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