Estimation of economic cost of forest fire prevention and control

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Bush fires in general, and forest fires in particular, have become a thorny issue in Ghana since the wide spread bush fires of 1983. They have reduced the productive capacity of timber and non-timber forest products. They have also affected the biodiversity and the ecological balance. Efforts have been made to rescue the situation and cost has been incurred by both governmental and non-governmental fire management inputs. The problem is that there has not been economic analysis about the cost effectiveness of the efforts. This is attributed to the problem of estimating economic cost of fire management in Ghana. The main objective of the study was to estimate economic cost of fire management programmes incurred by fire management input units engaged in fire prevention and control. The study used a modified version of cost aggregation model derived by McKetta et al for the estimation. In the estimation the study identified four management input units; Ghana National Fire Service, Anti-Bush Fire Volunteers, Forestry Department and Green Belt Farmers. The study applied the model in four forest reserves; namely Pamu Berekum, Tam Block II, Afram Headwaters, and Worobong South forest reserves. The study employed questionnaire in the data collection. Four sets of questionnaires were administered on the four fire management inputs. The study was also supplemented by interviews and information from libraries and other institutions. The estimation was followed by comparative analysis of cost from the fire management inputs, between and within the four forest reserves and also between fire management programmes. Furthermore, the study conducted statistical analyses to test the consistency in the cost estimates from fire management inputs on different management programmes in the forest reserves. The main findings of the study were that; the non-governmental fire management inputs were more actively involved in fire management and the governmental fire management inputs only pay lip service to fire management; fire volunteers were the only fire management input which was involved in suppression programme; the greater part of the cost of non-governmental fire management input were imputed labour wages; some fire management inputs were concerned about only some specific programmes; the fire management inputs in general concentrated on only few fire management programmes; total economic cost was highest in Pamu Berekum and lowest in Tam Block 11; and it was observed that forest type and location had no influence on cost estimates. The study was organised into five chapters. Chapter one covered introduction and chapter two covered literatures review. Chapter three, four and five covered; model of the study, presentation and analysis, and summary and conclusion, respectively.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts Degree in Economics, 2000