An analysis of illegal mining on the Offin shelterbelt forest reserve, Ghana: Implications on community livelihood

Author ORCID Identifier

Samuel Boadi https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4646-3900

Collins Ayine Nsor 0000-0002-9516-7422

Osei Owusu Antobre 0000-0001-8124-5525

Emmanuel Acquah 0000-0002-3924-848X


Mining in tropical countries contributes significantly to the global minerals supplies but unregulated mining activities in reserved forests is associated with destruction, loss of habitats and loss of biodiversity. This study determined the area of the Offin shelterbelt forest reserve, Ghana, degraded through illegal mining (galamsey) and the impacts on the livelihoods of fringe communities. Thirty-two (32) coordinates were recorded around the peripheries of disturbed site in the reserve using hand-held Global Positioning System and were then imported into a geodatabase in ArcGIS which was used to estimate the area degraded. Data was obtained from 60 purposively sampled respondents from two communities fringing the reserve and 10 key informant interviews. Increased income (13%), employment opportunities (6.7%) and increased market activities (2%) were some benefits of the illegal mining activities identified by the respondents. Eight respondents associated their employment with of the advent of illegal mining activities out which 6 (70%) were engaged directly in mining activities, while 2 (30%) were into trading. The miners earned cash income range of US $ 2.9–22.9 daily. Within 5 years, illegal mining had degraded 2.5 km2 (4.4%) of the total area of the reserve and the destruction of cocoa farms and water sources (31). Farming among respondents reduced from 90% to 76% after illegal mining. The relatively high cost (US$ 6424.1) involved in flushing out and the subsequent return of such miners poses a threat to sustainable forest management and requires a more holistic approach in tackling such a problem.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.