Globally, forests provide several functions and services to support humans’ well-being and the mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The services that forests provide enable the forest-dependent people and communities to meet their livelihood needs and well-being. Nevertheless, the world’s forests face a twin environmental problem of deforestation and forest degradation (D&FD), resulting in ubiquitous depletion of forest biodiversity and ecosystem services and eventual loss of forest cover. Ghana, like any tropical forest developing country, is not immune to these human-caused D&FD. This paper reviews Ghana’s D&FD driven by a plethora of pressures, despite many forest policies and interventions to ensure sustainable management and forest use. The review is important as Ghana is experiencing an annual D&FD rate of 2%, equivalent to 135,000 hectares loss of forest cover. Although some studies have focused on the causes of D&FD on Ghana’ forests, they failed to show the chain of causal links of drivers that cause D&FD. This review fills the knowledge and practice gap by adopting the Driver-Pressures-State-Impacts-Responses (DPSIR) analytical framework to analyse the literature-based sources of causes D&FD in Ghana. Specifically, the analysis identified agriculture expansion, cocoa farming expansion, illegal logging, illegal mining, population growth and policy failures and lapses as the key drivers of Ghana’s D&FD. The study uses the DPSIR analytical framework to show the chain of causal links that lead to the country’s D&FD and highlights the numerous interventions required to reverse and halt the ubiquitous perpetual trend of D&FD in Ghana. Similar tropical forest countries experiencing D&FD will find the review most useful to curtail the menace.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited