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General News of Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Source: GNA

No housing development in Shai Hills Reserve-Deputy Minister

Accra, Feb. 05, GNA - The Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines on Tuesday gave an assurance that there was no housing development within the Shai Hills Resource Reserve.

The Deputy Sector Minister, Mr Andrew Adjei-Yeboah told Parliament that the land that was being developed was rather outside the Reserve, by private estate developers.

The answer was in reply to a question asked on behalf of Mr. Enoch Teye Mensah (NDC-Ningo Prampram), on why the Reserve was being developed into housing estates.

The 51-square kilometre reserve, located on the Accra-Akosombo Road is presently the home to antelopes, primate species, rodents, bats, 13 species of reptiles and 175 species of birds.

Mr Adjei-Yeboah said the long-term vision of Government, is to develop, together with private sector, the Shai Hills Reserve into a major tourist attraction.

The Deputy Minister later told the House that Ghana's forest reduced from approximately 1.7 million ha to 1.6 million ha from 2001 to 2005, an equivalent to an annual deforestation rate of 1.5 per cent. Wildfires, particularly in the transitional and savanna zones have been the main cause of deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana and forest fires have caused an estimated annual loss of about three per cent of GDP during the last 15 years.

Mr. Adjei-Yeboah said Government of Ghana and Donor support interventions are helping to check further deforestation. These include the Wildlife Management Project, the Forest Resource Use Management Project, the Participatory Forest Resource Management and Northern Savannah Biodiversity Project.

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