Ghana to Plant 24 million Trees with help from ArborCarb

Adam Eisman - Contributing Writer
Posted on Monday 13th July 2009

The Ghanaian rainforest has been decimated over the past 50 years, losing about 80% of its size in that period. Paired with the fact that deforestation is responsible for roughly one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions each year, and there is a serious problem brewing on Africa’s western coast.

Fortunately, with the partnership of the British Company ArborCarb, Ghana plans to plant nearly 24 million trees in the coming years to help alleviate the growing concern of greenhouse emissions. Optimistic predictions see the tree planting as soaking up about 9 million tons of carbon dioxide over their lifetime. However, some see the move by ArborCarb as a bad precedent that could entrench developing countries into poverty.

ArborCarb plans to use the tree planting as a way to sell carbon credits that would allow them to emit harmful gasses in other areas. Critics say that these programs may act as land grabs that effectively disallow local populations from using the areas for farming or other methods of self-sustenance. Some see a carbon offset program like this one as the developed world shifting climate responsibility onto developing countries and the poor communities therein.

Whatever happens, it is clear that attitudes towards forests are changing, both in the countries that house them and in the international community. As businesses understand the need to alleviate their carbon footprint, they look to potential carbon offsetting programs like this one in Ghana. But at the same time, international groups are standing up for the developing world to ensure that they are not forced into a new era of industrial-colonialism.

Nothing is black and white in this world, and this dilemma shows why. ArborCarb is certainly trying to do something that will benefit the earth; however we must stay vigilant that it does not get to the point where multi-national companies aren’t just using the developing world as their private property.

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