PhD fellow, Thelma Arko, presented her thesis topic, Assessing the impact of the High Urban Charcoal Demands on the Afram Plains, to a group of advisers at UNU-INRA headquarters, yesterday. The advisers included Fatima Denton, UNU-INRA Director and Pedi Obani, UNU-INRA Research Fellow.
The aim of the thesis is to assess the impact of high urban demand for charcoal on the Afram Plains, and will be guided by the problem statement: “If business continues as usual, there will be no tree cover in the plains”. This has implications for poverty, hunger, health and nutrition in poor urban households.
During the presentation, Thelma Arko conveyed her reasoning for conducting the research in this area of Ghana, noting that high demand for charcoal in the nation’s capital, Accra, is one of the reasons for deforestation and forest degradation in the area.
The research fellow also described her research methods, with emphasis on field work to survey changes in the area and interviewing key players selling charcoal. Thelma Arko also expressed interest in using Earth Observation technology in the process of gathering data for her thesis.
In addition to tracking the land cover of the Afram Plains, the project will look at the impact of charcoal demand in urban areas, such as Accra, and analyse why there is such a high demand within these areas.
As of late 75% percent of natural energy consumption in Ghana comes from biomass, and the Afram plains supplies charcoal to the nation.