Impact of Logging on Biodiversity and Conservational Status of the Fure Headwaters Forest Reserve in the Asankrangwa Forest District, Western Region, Ghana

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The Fure Headwaters Forest Reserve forms part of the network of permanent forest estates in the High Forest Zone of Ghana which are noted for harbouring conservation values. Some conservation attempts have been made by the Ghana Forestry Commission through the creation of Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas. But there remains a critical need to address the conservation of social, cultural, unique flora and fauna values within production management zones. The study sought to assess the main conservational values in the Fure Headwaters Forest Reserve with focus on tree species and mammals and compare the impact of logging activities on these values. The survey was conducted in compartments 17, 26 and 40 of the forest reserve after they had been randomly selected from a group of homogenous compartments stratified according to their logging history. Three sample plots of sizes 100m x 100m were demarcated in each of the compartments. Each sample plot was subdivided into sixteen subplots of sizes 25m x 25m. Four subplots representing 25% of the sampled area were subsequently selected using simple random technique. Tree species with diameter greater or equal to 10cm at breast height (dbh ≥ 10cm) were identified and enumerated within each subplot for the assessment. The mammal survey was however conducted in each of the 16 subplots constituting the one hectare plot demarcated. This was done to ensure that enough ground was covered in the assessment and also to be able to determine promptly the mammal sign densities per hectare. Mammal species were identified with the help of a specialist (zoologist) from the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission using identifiable animal signs such as foot prints, skeletons, faeces/droppings, fur, left-over of eaten fruits, physical presence, and indicators of mammal habitats. Star rating species are high in Fure Headwaters Forest Reserve especially in the unlogged forest area but show decrease in the active logging and logged forest areas. It was also found out that logging activities have negative impacts on conservational status of a forest and it is evidenced that when these biodiversity are not carefully managed may result in eventual erosion of genetic resources in the forest reserve. The findings and recommendations may be useful to government agencies whose mandate is to ensure sustainable management of Ghana’s forest resources. Some fundamental field operations especially stock survey need to be revised to include details of all conservational values to serve as a guide towards their careful management in production forest reserves.  
A thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Master Of Science Degree in Environmental Science