The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Peter Amewu, has admitted that the forests in Ghana are facing numerous challenges.
In his maiden meeting with the management and staff of the Forestry Commission recently, Mr Amewu, acknowledged that the forestry sub-sector is one of the key sectors that has a huge potential for driving the economic development of this country
However, he noted, “in spite of the numerous benefits we derive from the forests, Ghana’s timber and non-timber forest resources are being over exploited and continue to decline in both quantity and quality. Perhaps, the greatest challenge facing the forestry sector today is deforestation and forest degradation.”
According to him, the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana are very obvious and need not be over-emphasized. The high levels of illegal logging chainsaw and mining activities, he indicated, are of great concern to all Ghanaians. In addition, poor farming practices, annual wildfires, population pressure and the complex nature of Ghana’s land tenure system and weak law enforcement further worsen the situation.
He told the gathering that the effects of deforestation and forest degradation are beginning to manifest themselves in the extinction of water bodies, loss of important timber species (like odom, wawa, mahogany), loss of wildlife habitat, rise in temperatures and unpredictable rainfall patterns due to climate change.
He added, ”First of all, let me assure you that the Ministry under my leadership will reverse the decline of the forest and wildlife resources by addressing vigorously the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. We will embark on tree nurseries establishment, forest plantation development, and development of the bamboo and rattan industry, conservation of biodiversity, protection of water bodies and promotion of eco-tourism.”
Several environmental activists including the former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan have cautioned against the destruction of the forests, maintaining that they offer incredible impetus to the fight against climate change.