Ghana has lost more than seven million hectares of its forest cover in the last 100 years.
The country’s forest cover, which stood at 8.6 million hectares by the turn of the 19th century, now stands at 1.8 million hectares.
This is largely due to the activities of illegal miners and illegal timber operators.
Besides the loss of the forest cover, the lives of forest guards and wildlife rangers are always at risk from illegal forest operators.
Between 2011 and now, 69 forest guards and wildlife rangers have been killed, with 100 injured on duty by these illegal forest operators.
The situation, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, was deterring the operations of the commission.
Forestry Week Celebration
Speaking at the launch of the third Forestry Week celebration and Greening Ghana Day in Accra yesterday, Mr Dartey said the increased exploitation of the country’s resource base, if not properly dealt with urgently, would hinder its growth and development.
The launch of the celebration, which took place at the Achimota Forest in Accra, was also used to mark the 2014 International Day of Forest.
As part of the celebration, 200 trees were planted within the forest to emphasise the commitment and readiness of the Forestry Commission to protect the country’s forest cover.
The Forestry Week celebration is on the theme: “Celebrating our Forest for Sustainable Development”.
Measures to curtail the situation
Mr Dartey said his outfit had trained 30 new forestry guards who had been deployed to various regions to work with the police and the Attorney-General’s Department in dealing with the operations of illegal forest operators.
“They have been able to arrest and prosecute five illegal forest operators,” he added.
He observed that tree planting was one of the measures his outfit intended to embark on to get the country’s depleted forest back.
“The Forestry Commission, in collaboration with corporate bodies and donor agencies, will secure funding for the purchase of fast-growing tree seedlings to replenish the lost forest,” Mr Dartey said.
Source: Daily Graphic
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