Local communities, AstraZeneca, NGPTA, local partners and the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance have established the first ‘Living Lab’ in Ghana. This community-led forest restoration project aims to plant and steward 4.5 million trees by the end of 2025 and establish circular business models for local communities.
The project, co-designed with local stakeholders, will restore 2,500 hectares of dry and savannah forest and demonstrate the benefits of biodiversity regeneration to the local economy, through the creation of local jobs and training programmes. The project also establishes 1,000 hectares of woodlots to grow sustainable timber and fuel wood and 1,500 hectares of agroforestry and regenerative agriculture.
The natural forested land in the Atebubu and Wiase districts in central Ghana has been subject to degradation and habitat change due to heavy encroachment and tree cutting for charcoal and timber. Local communities face challenging economic conditions and a deteriorating natural environment.
Integrating both traditional knowledge, technology and innovative farming methods, the projects in Atebubu and Wiase place the local communities at the heart of landscape restoration. The programme will combine natural forest restoration, agroforestry and woodlots, benefiting people, society and planet, through:
- Enhanced biodiversity, improved soil and local air quality, protected watersheds
- Improved livelihoods through employment in tree nurseries and the timber value chain
- The creation of nature-based business models for smallholder farmers
Project planting began in August 2021, with an initial trial of 100,000 tree seedlings. Further planting will take place over the next four years, beginning in May this year.
Jason Snape, Head of Environmental Protection, AstraZeneca, says “At AstraZeneca, we are committed to helping to restore forests for the health of people, society and the planet. The Living Lab in Ghana is a unique public-private partnership working with local communities to build social and ecological resilience, while inspiring action towards a circular bioeconomy. As part of our AZ Forest programme, we are proud to support the restoration of biodiversity and local livelihoods.”
Marc Palahi, Circular Bioeconomy Alliance Chair, said: “With the support of AstraZeneca, we have co-designed and are implementing forest actions based on sound scientific evidence and inclusive dialogue, creating public-private-community partnerships to foster ecological and community resilience in central Ghana.”