Illegal Chainsaw Operators Replant Degraded Forests

Tropenbos International Ghana (TIG) with financial support from the European Union (EU) is aiding illegal chain saw operators in forest fringe communities to replant degraded forests. The goal is to provide alternative livelihoods to illegal chain saw operators to disengage them from the practice and encourage them to replant the forest swathes degraded by their activities. Forestry Commission (FC) and Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) are the other collaborators. Already, 40 transformed operators now working together under the “Anhwiam Artisanal Millers Association” based at Brema-Anhwiam in the Assin-North District, have since last year replanted over 40 hectares of the Compartment 31 of the degraded Supong Forest Reserve. Cedrela, Ofram, Mahogany and Asanfena are some of the tree species that have been planted and the plantation has been intercropped with maize, cocoyam and plantain to boost food production in the area and also to boost the income of the farmers. The project is being piloted in four forest districts where four community groups who have agreed to undertake reforestation as alternative livelihood venture, have been trained and provided with seedlings, equipment and other logistics to pilot the project in their communities. The communities are the Asante Akyem South Woodworkers Association at Obogu in the Asante Akyem forest district, Feyiase Artisanal Millers Association in the Begoro Forest district, Breman-Anhwiam Artisanal Millers Association in the Assin-Fosu forest district and Kyekyewere Artisanal Millers Association in the Nkawie forest district. Mr John K.G Amonoo, Community Forestry Advisor of the EU Chainsaw Project, told journalists during a tour of the plantation site at Breman-Anhwiam that the project was currently being piloted in the four forest fringe communities to help reduce rampant illegal timber operations in forest reserves. This, he said, would transform their illegal chainsaw milling operations into environmentally- conscious artisanal milling activities to improve Ghana’s forest cover while promoting sustainable forest management practices. He said under the project, some artisanal wood millers in Akrodie and Sankore in the Goaso forest district in the Brong-Ahafo Region were also being supported to acquire timber logs from legal sources to serve the domestic timber market in their communities. Mr James Parker, the TIG-EU Chainsaw Project Co-ordinator, said the main objective of the project was to ensure that legal timber was supplied onto the local Ghanaian market. He said the project would also promote the country’s forest resources and contribute to sustainable forest management in the country.