CIFOR–ICRAF publishes over 750 publications every year on agroforestry, forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy and much more – in multiple languages.

CIFOR–ICRAF addresses local challenges and opportunities while providing solutions to global problems for forests, landscapes, people and the planet.

We deliver actionable evidence and solutions to transform how land is used and how food is produced: conserving and restoring ecosystems, responding to the global climate, malnutrition, biodiversity and desertification crises. In short, improving people’s lives.

Firewood for income in a degrading landscape

With soils becoming increasingly infertile in Ghana’s Kassena–Nankana District, many people in farming communities – especially women – rely heavily on income from tree products and off-farm sources such as petty trading. Firewood is one of those tree products. But as forests and other tree cover degrade in the area, firewood is also increasingly difficult to find. Wood from shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa) is popular in charcoal-making, so traditional taboos that forbade cutting of a live tree or harvesting anything but dead branches are breaking down. This means there is growing competition for this precious resource, creating a conflict-of-use problem for shea trees. There is also increasing pressure on shea and other trees as more and more people are turning to firewood as a source of income. Paradoxically, even as tree resources are declining, as Zizigna Bagambagui tells us, prices for firewood are dropping because of the growing number of people harvesting and selling firewood. Bagambagui recalls how, in the past when there were more trees, soils were more fertile and life was much easier than it is today.

Other videos you might be interested in