The Forestry Commission is embarking on forest plantation development to meet the gap in the demand for forest products.
Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, said it was moving from forests consumptive status to that of a non-consumptive strategic national asset, with emphasis on eco-tourism development.
Mr Dartey was speaking at the launch of the Third Forestry Week and Greening Ghana Day celebration on the theme: “Celebrating Our Forest for Sustainable Development, ” in Accra on Tuesday.
He said the Commission, in collaboration with corporate bodies, would secure funding for the purchase of fast-growing tree seedlings to replenish lost forests.
He said as part of the celebration, the Commission was planting about 200 tress in the Achimota Park, and also in some selected areas, about five hectares together with the Energy Commission.
He said the United Nations had instituted the International Day of Forest to be celebrated on March 21 annually, to remind humankind of its indebtedness to the forest.
He said the country was faced with the severe reality of increased exploitation of the forest resources base for national development.
This, he said, was coupled with illegal and brutal assault on the ever-dwindling resources.
He said the forest contributes immensely to the Gross Domestic Product and the socio-economic development of the country.
Mr Dartey said forest were, therefore, crucial for addressing a multitude of sustainable development imperatives, ranging from poverty eradication to food security.
He said the country could only celebrate the forest for sustainable development, when it secures their sustainability for national development.
He said the country’s forest cover, which stood at 8.6 million hectares over 100 years now stands at 1.8 million hectares.
“We have lost sixty-nine forest guards and wildlife rangers from 2011 to date,” he said.
The Chief Executive said there would be a colloquium on forest and wildlife resource management to sensitize the public on the need to save the ailing and dying forest
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