Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Jerry Hall

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Forests are one of the most valuable natural resources of many countries, including Ghana. Timber and other forest products have contributed immensely to the development of the country. These same forests have been a source of sustenance to the Ghanian people. Most particularly, forests have been the principal source of domestic energy by way of providing woodfuels. The heavy reliance on forest resources is taking its toll on the health of Ghanaian forests. In recent years, there has been increased awareness of the depletion of trees—a problem that many researchers have attributed to the over-exploitation of forests especially for domestic fuel. This thesis explores the question of the links between woodfuel use and deforestation in rural Ghana. Using two villages (Chamba and Nsuta) in the two main vegetation zones in Ghana--savannah and forests regions--as case studies, the central issues of access to, and use of wood as energy, either in the basic form, or in the processed form as charcoal and how these are linked to forest depletion and environmental degradation are explored. Whilst factors as such as high population growth rate, poverty, inappropriate agricultural policies and practices and logging are important in the debate over deforestation, the exploitation of wood for domestic energy stands out as the main destroyer of forests in Ghana. The author is of the conviction that unless immediate steps are taken to remedy the situation, Ghana, and indeed most of Sub-Sahara Africa are headed for a real environmental and energy crisis. Based on field research, the author makes some specific recommendations including the introduction and promotion of more fuel-efficient stoves, the promotion of a tree planting culture, the establishment of village woodlots, rural electrification and involving rural people in the management of established woodlots. These recommendations emphasise the protection and expansion of existing forests as against advocating the introduction of more sophisticated energy alternatives because, realistically, most rural households cannot afford these alternatives. The key, therefore, to ensuring a steady supply of household energy is to focus on protecting and expanding Ghana's forests.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season