Promoting Lesser-Known and Lesser-Used timber species from Ghana
Since June 2020, BVRio has been leading an initiative to promote Lesser-Known (LKS) and Lesser-Used (LUS) timber species from Ghana to international markets. In collaboration with Ghana Forestry Commission’s Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD), Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), Ghana Timber Millers Organization (GTMO) and the Ghana Timber Association (GTA), BVRio developed a set of communication materials that include technical information about a selection of timber species that are available to the international markets. These materials provide timber buyers options for sustainable timber sourcing from Ghana, soon to be the second country in the world able to issue FLEGT licenses.
LKS and LUS are under-utilised timber species that have similar technical properties to other popular species. There are more than 50,000 species of timber in the world, but only a small proportion of these are used commercially. Currently, Ghana has nearly ninety species that are regularly exploited and traded as timber but has so many more that aren’t used.
Using more LKS and LUS can relieve the pressure on the more common species. LKS and LUS can have similar and even better performance for some specific end-uses, and they can also have a more distinctive and unique appearance compared to more popular ones. Choosing these species is not only a good business decision but also has the potential to improve livelihoods and protect biodiversity.
Recently, BVRio published a guide of the properties of twenty LKS and LUS from Ghana, based on a technical report researched by FORIG. The guide includes the appearance, structural properties, performance properties, working qualities and end-uses of the twenty species. The selection of species was agreed by all stakeholders because of their availability and properties.
In addition to this guide, the initiative created a short video documentary about the timber sector in Ghana and some of the species featured in the guide. Five more videos featuring LKS and LUS will be published soon.
On November 24th, BVRio hosted a webinar for the timber sector in Europe to launch some of these materials. The webinar, titled Utilising Ghana’s sustainable resources: Lesser Known Timber Species, included presentations by Eric Abbeyquaye from TIDD, Richard Nsenkyere, from Samartex Timber and Plywood Limited and Kristian Jørgensen from FSC and coordinator of lesserknowntimberspecies.com. It was a productive session with over 30 attendees learning more about Ghana’s sustainable forest management and the benefits of sourcing LKS and LUS.
On November 27th, BVRio hosted a companion webinar for the timber sector in China focusing on the same topics. Over 50 people attended, watching a presentation by Alfred Baku of Logs & Lumber Ltd and joining a lively discussion about how to source LKS and LUS from Ghana and which species commonly imported from China that they could replace.
Choosing LKS and LUS is good for business and the environment. Ghana has a vast variety of timber species to for sustainable sourcing and will also soon be FLEGT licensed to facilitate trading with EU buyers. To learn more about the timber species look at our ‘Promoting Ghana’s lesser known species – Utilising sustainable timber resources‘ video and ‘Lesser-known & Lesser-used Timber Species‘ guide, and for sourcing timber products go to the Responsible Timber Exchange platform.
This work has been made possible with the financial assistance of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme.