The Forestry Commission of Ghana (FCG) today announced the launch of a National Map of Forests and Land Use. Marking a significant milestone in Ghana’s commitment to building world-class earth observation expertise and the culmination of a three-year project, the development has been supported by Forests 2020, which is managed by Ecometrica, the downstream space information company, and supported by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme.
The Ghana National map of Forests and Land Use was produced by the Resource Management Support Centre of the Forestry Commission Ghana, with the support of scientists at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Leicester, UK, under the Forests 2020 project, managed by Ecometrica with finance from the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme.
The map uses satellite data from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites, a large number of field samples and measurements cross-referenced using machine learning techniques. Public, government and commercial access to the map is supported by Ecometrica whose online distribution platform ensures that the correct version of the map is being used for specific end-uses and timeframes.
The launch of the map is the latest in a series of initiatives to enhance sustainability across Ghana’s key agricultural commodities, such as cocoa, and aims to end deforestation, while promoting forest restoration and protection throughout supply chains. It will be formally adopted as a national product for the use of climate reporting and zero-deforestation supply chains in both the forest sector and for commodity exports.
Yakubu Mohammed, Head of Geo-Information Unit at Resource Management Support Centre of the Forestry Commission of Ghana and Principal Investigator for Forests 2020, said: “The map is an important outcome from the Forests 2020 project, which has enabled us to create a resource centre from which we will further develop our new land cover map. Importantly, FCG and our partner agencies will now be in a much stronger position to determine progress towards the Cocoa & Forests Initiative objectives and other international commitments and initiatives.”
Ghana’s national land-use maps have been developed over the past three years by the Forestry Commission and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with the support of international partners. The maps provide authoritative and accurate information about the extent of forests, shaded and unshaded cocoa production areas, forest reserves, admitted farms and other agricultural areas.
Dr Richard Tipper, executive chairman of Ecometrica, added: “This is a significant achievement by FCG and represents the first 3rd generation land-use map to be produced at the national level by a middle-income country. It is also a testament to the ongoing success of Forests 2020 and its long-term legacy, with Ghana now in a position to identify key commodity crops, such as cocoa, but also whether these crops are grown under a tree shade or in shade-free condition.”
The map is a multipurpose product that will be updated over time and used for national climate change reporting under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement; enforcement of compliance with zero-deforestation commodities including timber, cocoa and other exports; and planning and monitoring projects and policies in the forest and land-use sector.