Introduction/Background/Justification: Dry landscapes covering areas in Ghana dominated by dry forests and woodlands are severely degraded and have high poverty levels and acute out-migration. Forest and landscape restoration is regarded as having the potential to increase the resilience of dry landscapes, as well as improve ecological integrity and enhance the wellbeing of local communities. There has been growing efforts to restore degraded dry landscapes in Ghana through the adoption of multiple forest landscape restoration approaches. Objectives: The main goal of this study was to provide new insights into field implementation of restoration projects and initiatives, and to capture lessons that could inform future up scaling of restoration to achieve the ultimate goal of restoring multifunctional landscapes. Methods: A mixed method approach including literature review and a case study via stakeholder consultations with local communities and other relevant state- and non-actors were used to collect information on predominant restoration approaches and key factors that have led to the success or failure of restoration projects implemented in the dry areas of the country in the last 10-15 years. Results: The study showed that different stakeholders including government institutions, NGOs and private sector companies have initiated and implemented various restoration projects using approaches such as reforestation/afforestation, woodlot establishment, agroforestry and trees-on farm, as well as protection and restoration of riparian buffers. Five overarching lessons learned that are associated with planning, technical and governance aspects of restoration were identified in this study. Key among them is the need to engage and empower local people and land users to participate meaningfully in restoration projects. Furthermore, collaboration and partnership among stakeholders and political support contribute to the sustainability of projects. Incentives generate support from local people, but they should directly or indirectly increase the resilience of farmers and local communities so as to provide a disincentive for further degradation of the environment. Securing land and tree tenure to local land users, especially women, is a critical step to ensuring the success of restoration projects. Bushfires, cattle grazing and flooding pose major threats to the success of restoration activities in dry landscapes. Implications/Conclusions: The lessons learned show that restoration goes beyond tree planting and that important technical and governance issues have to be considered when up scaling forest and landscape interventions in drylands.
Drylands; Ghana; forest and landscape restoration; tree tenure; restoration failures