From: James Sheriffdeen, Kumasi
The 5th Forestry Week and Greening Ghana Day, was climaxed at the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) College of Education park, Agona in the Sekyere South District of the Ashanti region on the theme “Forests and Water for Sustaining Lives and Livelihoods”.
The celebration is a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) to raise awareness of importance of all types of forests and trees.
Speaking at the grand durbar, the Chief Executive of Forestry Commission, Mr. Samuel Afari Dartey noted that, the Forest and Wildlife resources of Ghana, continue to face serious threats of degradation due to factors such as illegal logging, illegal mining known in local parlance as “galamsey” unsustainable farming practices and poaching.
He said, the results of these and severe climate change impacts have resulted in the drying up of many water bodies, extinction of prime timber species and destruction of wildlife habitats.
According to him, some 1.6 billion people, including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures, depend on forests for food, fuel, shelter and income.
He announced that most of the 293 forest reserves covering an estimated area of 2.4 million hectares and 23 wildlife protection areas in Ghana serves as important components of water sheds and in some cases, sources of headwaters of important rivers.
Mr. Afari Dartey, therefore implored every Ghanaian to in their own small ways, save water bodies because water is an irreplaceable commodity and every essential component in everybody’s life.
He encouraged all to start planting trees in our homes, offices as a way of saving the environment.
The Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Andy Osei Okrah said, the time has come for us to be conscious of our actions and inactions that are affecting the preservation of the little forest left for us, and so let’s go ahead to take drastic actions to revive the already depleted forest.
According to him, we must be guided by the customary traditional laws that sought to protect and preserve our forest lands and rivers.
Nananom, he said, can help by enforcing these customary laws since they have legal backing of the Ghanaian Laws.
“In the same rein, Forestry Commission must enforce its laws and also galvanize the energies and resourcefulness of the youths in the forest areas to take up the challenge to rejuvenate the forests through clearly thought out re-afforestation scheme that will bring symbolic benefits to individuals and the Commission”, he charged.
He added that, the gravity of the situation demands that all hands must be on deck because, the preservation of the forests will inpinch directly on the lives and livelihoods of the people living in the forest areas and ultimately all of us.
Osei Okrah believe, the institution of the Forestry Week celebration to drum home the urgent need to raise consciousness of people about the damage being done to our forest and what can be done to reverse the trend.
“It is not merely to create awareness but also what we can do about this bad situation”, he pointed out”.