The project is currently being implemented in Bia West and Juabeso administrative Districts in the Western region of Ghana.
The Juabeso-Bia Landscape has been designated as one of the Hotspot Intervention Areas for the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP), and covers an area of 243,561 Ha. HIAs were selected based on the presence of significant forest patches and their deforestation trends, the types of drivers (in this case cocoa expansion and illegal logging), being a dominant cocoa production landscape, as well as the potential for stakeholders’ engagement. Together, these factors point to a high potential for impact in reducing significant emissions and increasing cocoa yields through a climate-smart approach. The landscape is dominated by cocoa farming in the “off-reserve” areas, and contains two major forest reserves (Bia North and Krokosua Hills, a globally significant biodiversity hotspot) and Bia National Park.
Records show that around 1900, the present-day Ghana (formerly Gold Coast and the northern territories), had a forest cover of 8.8 million hectares out of an estimated land area of 23.85 million hectares. By 1950, the area had been reduced to 4.2 million ha and further to about 1.6 million ha by 1999 (Owusu et. al., 1999). This rapid decline has been due to several factors, including insufficiently robust public policy which resulted in extensive indiscriminate logging (legal and illegal) and agricultural expansion, mainly cocoa production. Ironically, forests provide a conducive climate for high cocoa productivity, and the loss of forest cover in cocoa growing areas threaten the long-term sustainability of the crop. This is aside the effect of climate change that the forests generally mitigate. Currently, the deforestation rate in Ghana is estimated to be around 2%. The satellite imagery above depicts the deforestation rate experienced in the Project area (Juabeso-Bia Landscape).