Forest Landscape Restoration through a Sustainable Wood Energy Value Chain

Published: 24 April 2023
Last edited: 24 April 2023
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The “Forest Landscape Restoration through a Sustainable Wood Energy Value Chain” project, is implemented in the Bono East and Savannah Region of Ghana. Through the sustainable production and efficient use of energy wood, forests in selected regions in Ghana are being restored and preserved thus contributing to the implementation of the national climate policy and to the improvement of the framework conditions for sustainable forest management and energy supply in Ghana.  


Wood energy in form of charcoal and fire wood is the main source for cooking in Ghana. More than 14 Mill. cbm of wood are used annually for the consumption as charcoal or fire wood. Wood energy is therefore one driver for forest degradation, especially in charcoal producing hotspots. This solution elaborates on supporting partner institutions and small farmers in establishing a sustainable wood energy value chain integrated in Forest Landscape Restoration measures.


West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Grassland ecosystems
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Tropical grassland, savanna, shrubland
Access and benefit sharing
Fire management
Forest Management
Gender mainstreaming
Health and human wellbeing
Land management
Local actors
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Renewable energies
Sustainable livelihoods
Other theme
Energy wood plantation development
Training and capacity building
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas


Damongo, Savannah, Ghana
Kintampo, Bono East, Ghana
Atebubu, Bono East, Ghana


Biomass represents 39% of the energy consumption in Ghana. Firewood or charcoal is still the main fuel for 4.53 million households in 2021 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2022) and the demand for wood fuel continues to rise due to public growth. This growing demand has led to concerns over impacts on tree cover and the security of future supplies. The National Energy Policy (2010) asserts that “the exploitation of biomass for energy purposes results in deforestation” (Ministry of Energy, 2010) and the charcoal sector is specifically identified as a “major driver of deforestation” (Ministry of Energy, 2019).

The ownership and user rights for natural forest areas are often unclear and uncontrolled and illegal logging for charcoal production is threatening valuable and rare tree species. In addition emissions from smoke during production and consumption of charcoal can cause severe health effects.




  1. Government officials  
  2. Selected project communities
  3. Landowners
  4. Local leaders
  5. Charcoal producers

How do the building blocks interact?

The four building blocks all constitute the implementation steps in the efficient and sustainable use of fuel wood to help reduce the pressures on forest.



  • 315 ha of degraded lands have been afforested with fast growing tree species and will be used sustainably for the supply of energy wood
  • 480 ha of degraded natural forest are under restoration measures like FMNR and enrichment planting and sustainable management plans have been developed
  • 264 ha of agroforestry systems with Cashew, Mango, Moringa, Dawadawa and other local species have been established with 150 smallholder farmers
  • Over 3000 persons (80% women) in the project communities were engaged in the raising, planting and maintenance of more than 1 million seedlings
  • 170 community persons were selected and trained and equipped as fire volunteers, for bush fire prevention, pre-suppression and suppression
  • Fire Danger Rating Index sign boards have been installed in all 12 project communities and are daily updated based on three installed weather stations
  • 5000 improved cookstoves have been distributed in project communities to reduce the consumption of charcoal
  • 5 metal kilns (Adam-Box) have been constructed and distributed to support the efficient carbonization of charcoal.
  • By supporting the Ministry of Energy, a new NDC policy action on promoting sustainable charcoal production was integrated in the updated NDCs of Ghana.
  • Charcoal value chain studies have been conducted in Senegal and Burkina Faso and recommendations for a sustainable wood energy value chain in the ECOWAS region been developed.



Karima is a 42-year-old woman with 5 children living in Soalepe, a small town in the Savannah region of Ghana. She burns and sells charcoal as a family business for her living and has been a charcoal producer since her childhood. As a result of the constant cutting of trees around her vicinity for the production of charcoal, she now has to walk long distances in search of wood for charcoal production. This has increased her time and costs for the transportation of the charcoal from the forest to her house.


The introduction of the Forest Landscape Restoration project in her community has positively impacted her charcoal business. She has had the opportunity to plant fast growing trees on the degraded lands around her vicinity in a form of a woodlot. In the next 2 to 3 years, she would not have to walk long distances in search of wood for her charcoal business as she can access directly the woodlots. The FLR project also introduced to her the efficient ADAM Box kiln for the carbonization of charcoal. In combination with the woodlot, she can now harvest and produce charcoal at one place and by using the box kiln she doesn’t need to cut grass and dig soil onto the packed wood before burning, which is the traditional way for charcoal production. With all the effort in the processes of burning charcoal the traditional way, it takes her more than one week to finish one complete carbonization with a very low efficiency. With the box kiln, she can produce within 3 days high-quality charcoal ready for the market, and more efficient as compared to the traditional way of carbonizing charcoal.


Karina is now an advocate for forest landscape restoration and influencing other charcoal producers, to engage in the restoration of degraded lands around their vicinity by planting more trees for the sustainability of their charcoal business.



Contributed by

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Joshua Palance Tetteh Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Ghana

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