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Role of tenure insecurity in deforestation in Ghana's high forest zone

Damnyag, Lawrence, Saastamoinen, Olli, Appiah, Mark, Pappinen, Ari
Forest policy and economics 2012 v.14 no.1 pp. 90-98
adverse effects, deforestation, ecosystem services, farmers, farming systems, forests, households, interviews, issues and policy, land ownership, planting, regression analysis, sharecropping, trees, Ghana
Land tenure insecurity is one of the underlying causes of deforestation in Africa. However, how land tenure arrangements influence deforestation in Ghana's high forest zone is not well understood. Only a few studies have empirically examined the effects of land tenure on deforestation. This knowledge gap is addressed by examining the nexus between deforestation, land tenure arrangements and local rules in Ghanaian communities. Data were collected through interviews with 756 randomly selected households and analyzed using descriptive statistics and multinomial logistic regression techniques. Of the different tenure arrangements reported by 441 respondents, 42%, 25%, and 33% were customary freehold, sharecropping, and leasehold arrangements, respectively. Under arrangements such as sharecropping and lease-holdings, farmers who engaged in short-rotation farming systems were hesitant to undertake long-term investments, such as tree planting. In many cases from this study, the local tenure system contributes to deforestation because the rules governing land holdings create adverse effects. In dealing with this problem, policy reform is required that should target benefit sharing schemes, including future benefits from Payment for Environmental Services (PES), which until now has only benefited land owners.