Reforestation

FORM Ghana has entered a Public Private Partnership with the Government of Ghana to reforest degraded forest reserves. The objectives are to establish and manage timber plantations with a maximum of 90% commercial teak and at least 10% of mixed local species and conserve natural, riparian forests.

The company's sustainably managed silviculture, monitoring and harvesting processes are uniquely adapted to the environment and aligned with the needs of the fringe communities. FORM Ghana was the first Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSCTM) certified forest plantation company in Ghana and West Africa.

Planning and monitoring

Oliver Asamoah Botwey is the company's geographic information Systems (GIS) expert. His department builds maps and datasets. 

The information provides essential information that includes the forest boundaries, health of the indigenous and plantation forests, rivers, roads, communities, planning for planting and harvesting activities, the location of the permanent sample plots (PSPs) and fire impacts.

Health and Safety

The plantation managers, Augustine Affum at Akukadan and Afia Yeboah at Berekum, take all reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of FORM Ghana's employees, contractors, customers and visitors. Training in HIV-Aids prevention, malaria awareness and prevention, and basic first aid is provided for staff and people in the fringe communities.

Daily toolbox talks are held before work starts, and everyone must use their appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Regular refresher courses are held for chainsaw operators and staff applying herbicides and pesticides. Both plantations have a clinic and nurse who provides medical services and monitors and reports on any incidents.

Permanent sample plots

The permanent sample plots where a group of trees, usually in a circular or square area, are permanently marked.

 "The monitoring team measures the diameter at breast height (DBH) and height of every tree in the plot. They examine the trees to see whether there is damage caused by pests or pathogens, or other factors affecting the health of the trees. A second monitoring team verifies the data collected by the first team," explains Alex, the harvesting manager.

"We use the PSP dataset to develop growth-and-yield models to estimate current timber supply and predict future forest conditions. We also use the data for carbon accounting, monitoring the effects of climate change, forest dynamics, and tree mortality. It is very important", Alex emphasises.

Silviculture & intercropping

FORM Ghana's highly trained silviculture staff research and select the best provenances to produce mother plant hedges for the company's high-quality seedlings. The nursery at Akumadan produces several species of indigenous tree seedlings and cuttings for the company's successful ecosystem restoration programme. The nursery also produces teak and gmelina seedlings for the Akumadan and Berekum commercial plantations. "Moving" nurseries are used infield to produce teak stumps for planting.

Before planting begins, the land is prepared, a baseline established, and 3m x 3m plots pegged to demarcate where to plant the seedling or stump. Local farmers are granted permission to intercrop within the plantation boundaries and to grow annual food crops on the fire belt in compliance with the sustainability criteria set by FORM Ghana.

Community participation has improved household incomes through diversified revenue streams. In addition to introducing maize, cashew and teak intercropping, small research plots (demonstration farms) have been planted with cassava, plantain and okra, with technical support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

Harvesting

Teak (Tectona grandis) is the main commercial species grown by FORM Ghana. After planting, the young trees are monitored, and poor performers are removed (blanked). The first "cut to waste" thinning occurs in the fourth year. Commercial thinning is done after 10 and 14 years, and clear-felling happens in year 20.

Skilled chainsaw operators fell and debranch the trees. The choke setters prepare the tree-length stems for extraction to the roadside by a tractor or skidder.

At the roadside, the tag-and-tally teams work under the eagle eye of the log scaler to measure and record the length and diameter of each log. The logger operator sorts and stacks the logs according to the customer's specifications. The round wood and pole customers fetch the logs.

Integrated community fire management programme

FORM Ghana introduced the Fire Danger Index to three fringe communities in 2017. There are 13 fringe communities, and today nine participate in the programme. Community Fire Squads of volunteers are trained to execute controlled burns during the fire season.

FORM Ghana pays a monthly allowance to the fire squads and provides them with PPE, rakes, hoes, beaters and torches. Squad leaders are given a cell phone and monthly credit to communicate with the company and the squad members. In fire season, the squad leaders receive regular updates throughout the day.

Training

Skills development and capacity building are ongoing at FORM Ghana. Mariam, the HR Manager, ensures that all staff receive relevant and regular training to help them perform their work safely and efficiently. The training is conducted internally or by external consultants.

Apart from firefighting and first aid training, the company sensitises staff about HIV/AIDS, malaria, good personal hygiene, and waste management. Trainee and Assistant Managers are exposed to all company operations. Managers are coached in soft skills, mentored and encouraged to study further.

"Everyone has an opportunity to learn new skills and advance their career in FORM Ghana", Mariam says.

Do you want to join our team?

At Form Ghana we believe that our employees are our greatest asset. Together we can make reforestation of degraded land possible! Form Ghana invests in its team by training and on-the-job skills development.
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Sunyani, Bono Region

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