Ghana launches national map of forests and land use

Information from the Forestry Commission Ghana and Ecometrica

The Forestry Commission of Ghana (FCG) has launched a National Map of Forests and Land Use. The maps provide authoritative and accurate information about the extent of forests, shaded and unshaded cocoa production areas, forest reserves, admitted farms and other agricultural areas.

The maps were created using satellite data from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites, a large number of field samples and measurements cross-referenced using machine learning techniques. Public, government and commercial access to the map is supported by Ecometrica whose online distribution platform ensures that the correct version of the map is being used for specific end-uses and timeframes.

The culmination of a three-year project, the maps have been developed by the Forestry Commission and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, supported by Forests 2020 – which is managed by Ecometrica and supported by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme.

The launch of the map is the latest in a series of initiatives to enhance sustainability across Ghana’s key agricultural commodities, such as cocoa, and aims to end deforestation, while promoting forest restoration and protection throughout supply chains. It will be formally adopted as a national product for the use of climate reporting and zero deforestation supply chains in both the forest sector and for commodity exports.

The land use map is a multipurpose product that will be updated over time and used for national climate change reporting under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement; enforcement of compliance with zero deforestation commodities including timber, cocoa and other exports; and planning and monitoring projects and policies in the forest and land use sector. It will also be used for reporting on greenhouse gas emissions from land use, REDD+ projects, and compliance with forest legality (including the European Union’s and Government of Ghana’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement).

“The map is an important outcome from the Forests 2020 project, which has enabled us to create a resource centre from which we will further develop our new land cover map” said Yakubu Mohammed, head of the FCG’s geo-information unit.