Ghana Wildlife and Economy
Animals and Plants
There are very different habitats in Ghana. The animals and plants in the rainforest in the south are completely different from those in the dry north. In contrast to East Africa, there are no large herds of animals in the much more densely populated West Africa and therefore also in Ghana.
Which animals live in Ghana?
Many colorful birds feel at home in the tropical rainforest in the south of the country: parrots, hornbills, woodpeckers, guinea fowl and pigeons. Monkeys climb through the trees, including chimpanzees and the two endangered species of the Roloway monkey and Diana monkey. Vervet monkeys and monkey cats are more common. Geoffrey’s colobus monkeys and baboons are also native here.
A variety of animals also live in the mangrove forests on the coast. Reptiles and mammals feel at home in the treetops. Water birds also nest here. Fish, crabs and mussels feel good between the roots, for example the pistol shrimp. Snails, algae and sponges settle on the roots of the mangrove trees. Snakes and crocodiles like it here too.
In the Volta Delta (in the south-east of Ghana), numerous migratory birds rest on their way from Europe to Central Africa. You will find plenty of food here. Other birds include the green-headed, several species of hornbills, parrots, and eagles.
In the savannah with its vastness other animals live. They include predators such as lions, leopards, hyenas, but also elephants, buffalos, hippos and warthogs. Antelopes come in several species, such as the roan antelope, kob, and bongo. Termite mounds can also be found in the savannah. The tsetse fly, which transmits sleeping sickness, also lives here. Migratory birds also rest here.
Numerous reptiles live all over the country, especially lizards such as monitor lizards or the smaller geckos and lizards.
In Atlantic fish live as herring, mackerel, barracuda, sharks, tuna and squid. Other marine animals include lobsters, lobsters, crabs, snails, and clams.
What is growing in Ghana?
In rainforest in the southwest of the country, there is a particularly high diversity of species. However, since the rainforest is being cleared more and more, this biodiversity is in danger. The rainforest of Ghana is still about 40,000 square kilometers. Fifty years ago it was 85,000 square kilometers. It is believed that species unknown to humans also live in the rainforest. The constant temperatures and high humidity promote the growth of plants.
Many trees grow in the rainforest, such as mahogany and African walnut trees (both of several species), fig trees, odum, wawa, and afrormosia. There are also kola, calabash and rubber trees. Orchids and lianas like to settle on the trees of the rainforest.
Palm trees grow across the country – about 1200 species. They also include the oil palm, which is grown in large plantations. Palm trees also grow on the coast. There are also mangrove forests on the coast. Their trees stand in the salty sea water
The savannah in the middle and north of the country also has typical inhabitants. On trees in the savannah you can find the African baobab, which stands alone and is noticeable due to its growth shape. The shea tree also grows here. It is also called the shea butter tree.
Ghana’s economy – cocoa, gold, wood and oil
Ghana is still an agricultural country. 45 percent of the population work in agriculture, 14 percent in industry. The economy has developed well, but the dry north is largely excluded, as agriculture can only be carried out in the south and mineral resources are also stored here.
Mineral treasure gold
Ghana’s most important natural resource is gold. Because of the gold deposits, the country was christened the Gold Coast by Europeans in the 16th century. Gold occurs particularly in the south and the middle of the country. There it is extracted in mines. Ghana’s share of gold production in the whole world is not that high. Measured against everything that Ghana exports, i.e. sells to other countries, it is 32 percent. That is a lot again. Ghana is the second largest gold producer in Africa (after South Africa).
What can you do?
Ghana is Germany’s largest supplier of wood products. Tropical wood is very robust and looks pretty. But if we want to preserve the rainforest, we are not allowed to buy wood that comes from there. That’s what the FSC seal is for. Wood that bears this seal comes from monitored forest management. It is even better to do without wood from the tropics entirely and buy wood from Germany. Only in this way can the rainforest be preserved.
Plantations in Ghana
The following are grown on large plantations: cocoa, sugar cane, coffee, tea and rubber. Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa exporters after the Ivory Coast. Pineapple, tobacco, bananas, palm kernel oil, dried coconut fiber, cola nuts, shea butter and cotton are also produced. For more articles on Ghana and Africa, please visit philosophynearby.
The oil palm is native to Ghana. It is also grown in plantations. Palm oil is pressed from their fruits. The coconut palm actually comes from the Pacific region, but was introduced in Ghana. Coconut milk and coconut fat are extracted from it and the raffia and leaves are used for roofs and mats.
An important branch of the economy is wood (10 percent of exports). To do this, trees in the rainforest are cut down. The rainforest is getting smaller and smaller, the biodiversity there disappears. New plantations for bananas, for example, are being created where the rainforest has been felled. Ghana is (after Cameroon, as of 2016) the second largest producer of plantains.
The sea: fish, salt and oil
Fishing still plays an important role on the coast, but fish stocks are declining. Herring, barracuda, tuna, shark and mackerel are caught. Salt is also extracted from the sea. There are large systems for this in which the salt is extracted from the seawater. Crude oil was discovered off the coast and has now been extracted for several years.
Ghana has to import most of the machines or more highly processed goods, i.e. buy them from other countries. In order to reduce dependence on other countries, factories were and are being built in the country. Yet only 14 percent of the population works in industry.
The importance of tourism is increasing. The beaches, but also the natural parks and the old forts of the Europeans are destinations of foreign visitors.