The economy and the income of local people in this region largely depend on the production of cocoa. Additional sources of income include tree crops such as palm oil, fruits and timber and staple crops such as cassava, maize, plantain and livestock.
Rates of deforestation and forest degradation are high in the landscape. The transition from shade-tolerant to sun-tolerant cocoa has contributed to the removal of trees. All of these developments have led to large CO2 emissions and more vulnerable smallholders.
Additional threats to the landscape include over-reliance on cocoa, artisanal mining and slash-and-burn agriculture. In order to increase climate, environmental and economic resilience of the landscape, these threats have to be addressed.
The return of shade-trees in the cocoa garden will not only contribute to CO2 capture. It will also contribute to climate resilience: soils and biodiversity will be better protected, while local farmers will have better crop insurance and more diversified incomes because of the fruits, nuts, herbs and timber that trees provide.
In the Juabeso-Bia and Sefwi Wiawso landscapes, Tropenbos Ghana will facilitate the development of innovative green business and finance models to unlock commitments of landscape stakeholders to reduce deforestation, improve cocoa yields and livelihoods, paying particular attention to female and young Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
These efforts will reduce climate vulnerability associated with the landscape and small-holder farmers’ livelihood. The resulting models will function as examples for other landscapes where the production of agro-commodities and forest encroachment leads to further deforestation and forest degradation.