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Regional News of Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Source: thefinderonline.com

Forest: Ghana loses 15m cubic metres annually

Ghana is losing about 15 million cubic metres of forest reserves per annum due to legal and illegal logging, bush burning, illegal mining and settlements.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the country also loses about 5 million cubic metres of forest resources annually through these activities.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, disclosing the losses to The Finder at the launch of this year’s International Day of Forests (IDF), stated that it is a collective responsibility of every Ghanaian to reverse the trend.

He also called for the active participation of the security agencies and the judiciary, by meting stiffer punishments to forest offences.

Mr Dartey made this known during the launch of this year’s International Day of Forests, to raise awareness on how forests are crucial to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is very essential for life.

The day is also dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of all types of forests and trees outside forests.

He stated that water shortage that has been experienced in many parts of the country this year is due to the fact that most rivers are dried up.

Areas, he said, which hitherto have been declared as riparian buffer zones, where logging, road construction or any other development is prohibited to ensure that water bodies are not exposed to the change of the weather, are no longer in existence because all the trees have been felled with careless abandon.

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, on his part, stated that the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 and 15, specifically devoted to address the issues on water and forest, show a significant commitment by government to face the challenge of climate change and related issues.

In Ghana, he highlighted the adoption and implementation of a new Forest and Wildlife Policy-2012, the national forest plantation programme, the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and Forest Investment Programme (FIP) as a number of initiatives that have already been launched to reverse the trend of deforestation and land degradation.

Nii Osah Mills noted that as we celebrate the IDF, it should be a collective responsibility to create awareness on the need to keep our forests, the need to plant trees, preserve our water bodies and be law-abiding citizens.

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