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Fire in Ghana's dry forest: Causes, frequency, effects and management interventions

Posted date: September 29, 2015
Publication Year: 
2015
Authors: Agyemang, Sandra Opoku; Muller, Michael; Barnes, Victor Rex
Publication Series: 
Proceedings (P)
Source: In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 15-21.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

This paper describes the number of fires, area burned, causes and seasonality of fires over a ten year period from 2002-2012 and investigates different fire management strategies and their effectiveness in the Afram headwaters forest reserve in Ghana. Data were collected from interviews of stakeholders in two communities adjacent to the reserve, and from 2002-2012 fire reports of the Ghana National Fire Service and Forest Service Division. For the period studied, nearly all fires were human-caused, and most arose through land use activities such as farming (19 percent) or hunting (15 percent) or from other activities such as charcoal production (10 percent) carried out in the forest. We also found out that, at least six fire incidences affected an area averaging approximately 31 hectares annually between 2002 and 2012. Nearly all fires occurred during the dry season (November-April) with the highest number of fires as well as largest area burnt occurring in January and February. Fire management efforts were more directed towards fire prevention than pre-suppression and suppression. However, other factors limited the effectiveness of fire management, including a lack of incentives for people to help put out fires and an absence of protective and suppression equipment. We recommend that there should be continuous education and capacity building, alternative farming methods, enforcement of wildfire laws, intensive patrols and inspection, maintenance of fire breaks, provision of lookout towers and other detection systems, provision of suppression equipment and collaboration between stakeholders.

Citation

Agyemang, Sandra Opoku; Muller, Michael; Barnes, Victor Rex. 2015. Fire in Ghana's dry forest: Causes, frequency, effects and management interventions. In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 15-21.