New Focus for WWF - West Africa Forest Programme Office (WAFPO)

Posted on 01 November 2010    
The slash and burn method, though illegal, is used by local farmers to clear forests for land cultivation. This is one of the problems WWF-WAFPO is working to address.
Slash and Burn, Wasampo, Western Region, Ghana
© Glen Asomaning/ WWF WAFPO

WWF’s West Africa Regional Office was based in Abidjan since the mid 1970s until the civil war in Cote d’Ivoire forced WWF to close its office in Abidjan in 2005. As a result staff and equipment were moved to Ghana with a focus of developing a forest programme for WWF in West Africa, particularly in Ghana. It has been officially registered in Ghana as an international NGO since 2007.

WWF WAFPO’s Successes

Since moving to the country, the Ghana office has been managing and implementing the WWF West Africa Forest Programme under the Guinean Moist Forest Eco-regional Strategy. Over the years, WWF has achieved successes and made conservation gains within the Guinean Moist Forest Eco-region. Key achievements in terrestrial West Africa include:

• Designation of the Guinean Moist Forest as one of WWF Global 200 Ecoregions critical for conservation
• Establishment of autonomous project for the Tai National Park with a goal of ensuring long term protection of the Tai National Park ecosystem
• Establishment of a sustainable forest conservation and management programme for the Guinean Moist Forest Ecoregion in collaboration with local, national and international partners, and the WWF network
• Empowerment of forest fringe communities in forest management through capacity building and educational programmes. This has helped to reduce forest conflicts between forest enterprises and local communities.
• Practical trainings in Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) of five of the largest forest enterprises in Ghana have brought internal efficiency to their operations through reduced forest workers’ accidents, improved quality of logs felled, less machine downtime and the positive impact on the forest environment.
• Establishment of timber traceability for forest enterprises in Ghana
• Assessment and identification of outstanding ecological and social values (High Conservation Values) within timber production areas of over 400,000 ha of forest reserves. This has led to the modification of companies’ operations to protect rivers, streams, sacred areas, endangered species (Chimpanzees, Bear-headed rockfowl, forest elephants etc) and minimize collateral damage to the residual forest.
• Improvement in the livelihoods of wood carvers in Aburi through the promotion of alternative carving wood sources and the provision of solar kiln for their operations.
• Development of Management Effectiveness Tool for Protected Areas
• Engagement of governments and forest authorities of the countries of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Liberia in development of enabling conditions for conservation impacts in the sub-region

The New Direction

The West Africa Forest Programme Office is now responsible for developing and monitoring the WWF West Africa Forest Programme in the Guinean Moist Forest Eco-region through the implementation of activities that will lead to responsible forestry and trade. These activities are necessarily complementing and implemented through the Global Forest and Trade Network – West Africa programme. The GFTN – a WWF-led partnership programme – aims at transforming the marketplace into a positive force to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests. Therefore, a number of projects relevant to the Guinean Moist Forest can be implemented under the programme.

Some of the specific areas of interest include:
• Forest governance and law enforcement
• Trade in legally and responsibly harvested timber (both domestic and international)
• Responsible forest management
• Climate change, REDD+, forest carbon and related activities
• Capacity building and development of forest fringe communities
• Conservation of biodiversity and wildlife in production forest areas
• Sustainable cocoa production in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire
• Agricultural impacts on forests in Ghana and West Africa in general
• Development of standards for best practices in commodity production in Ghana and West Africa

In view of our interest in achieving responsible forestry and trade within the Guinean Moist Forest Ecoregion, we welcome partnerships that will bring additive values into our respective goals. In that respect WWF Ghana office is ready to partner on the above stated areas.

For further information contact: Mustapha Seidu via

The slash and burn method, though illegal, is used by local farmers to clear forests for land cultivation. This is one of the problems WWF-WAFPO is working to address.
Slash and Burn, Wasampo, Western Region, Ghana
© Glen Asomaning/ WWF WAFPO Enlarge
Timber, legally harvested by the Samatex company which participates in WWF's Global Forest Trade Network (GFTN) programme, Samreboi, western Ghana.
© Hartmut Jungius WWF Enlarge
GFTN-West Africa holds training seminar to help local communities understand forest laws and their rights and responsibilities.
© WWF Enlarge

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