The Former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Nii Osah Mills is calling for a commitment on the side of Ghanaians to salvage the depleting forests of the country.
According to him, there must be a strong demonstration by Ghanaians against the wanton destruction of ‘our’ forest bodies as part of the International Day of Forests.
Issues regarding the protection forests in the country is sorrowful. The illegal cutting down of trees and all should be fought against, the former minister said on Top FM’s Midday News, Kasiebo No Coequal.
He therefore called on all Ghanaians to rise and protect our forest for now and tomorrow which are under attack.
International Day of Forests
The United Nations General Assembly has established the 21st day of March each year since 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations.
It is also to help the preservation of the essential natural resource as the saying that goes as “The last tree gone is the last life lost”.
A statement issued by the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission said the week-long programme would be dedicated to tree planting and promoting awareness on the importance of forests and trees in our lives.
This year’s celebration observed from 20th – 26th May, 2017, is under the theme “Forests and Energy: Implications for Ghana”.
It is on record that about 70 percent of Ghanaians depend on wood fuel for their household energy needs and as a major source of livelihood.
The annual consumption of wood fuel is estimated at 16 million m3. Wood fuel is a very important energy source for households and its use is dominant in rural households who depend on it for cooking and for small-scale processing activities.
In spite of the many benefits derived from the forest, the forest and wildlife resources of Ghana continue to face serious threats of degradation due to factors such as illegal logging, illegal mining (Galamsey), unsustainable farming practices, rampant wildfires, poaching, charcoal burning, collection of fuelwood in commercial quantities, among others.
The results of these are severe climate change impacts that have resulted in the drying up of many water bodies; depletion of prime timber species like “odum”, “mahogany”, “asanfina”, “sapele”; destruction of wildlife habitats; loss of soil fertility and low agricultural productivity, among others.
The actions of illegal miners in the country is a major contributing factor to the destruction of our forest bodies.
Some farmers are giving up their lands to these people for the minerals in the ground to earn peanuts at the end. Crops cannot be grown on these land again as a result of some chemicals used in the activity.
Water bodies that help in the preservation of these forest are also destroyed in the process of illegal mining.
The Assembly Man for Sefwi Bopa Electoral Area confirmed by complaining about the alarming growth rate of illegal miners trooping into the area.
Hon Emmanuel Yaw Townshend said this has led to the destruction of some cocoa and other crop farms as well as great water bodies such as the Tano River and “Asuo Suhuma” in the area.
Countries are therefore encouraged to undertake efforts to organize local, national, and international activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns, on International Day of Forests.