The importance of trees and vegetation for human life cannot be underestimated. Experts advised that; there will be no life on earth when the final tree dies. This means that human beings and trees depend on one another for survival. The benefits of trees to mankind include food, income, construction and housing.
Despite the numerous benefits derived from trees, there have been significant destruction of trees mostly through human activities. According to Ghana’s Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, 80% of the country forest cover has been depleted over the years to the current state of one million six thousand (1.6m) hectares.
Therefore, the brilliant Green Ghana Initiative aimed at planting millions of trees across the country to restore the forest cover is a project every Ghanaian must support. However, the sustainability of this project is dependent on a change in citizens’ attitudes and behaviours towards conserving the environment.
Over the years, various afforestation projects have been carried out by governments and or its development partners most of which failed to achieve their desired impacts. In most cases, such planted trees were not properly cared for whiles bushfires, drought among others attacked and killed many of such trees.
No matter how many trees are planted through this programme, if citizens will continue the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial charcoal production, if the cutting down of trees such as rosewood for export, if these trees a not well protect against bushfires, drought, animals that feed on them and human beings who indiscriminately cut down trees for other purposes are not checked, the Green Ghana Project might not be successful.
Therefore, the war against illegal mining should be extended to checking the indiscriminate felling of rosewoods for export and other trees for commercial charcoal production. Conserving our environment remains our civic responsibility that every citizen should be willing to support.
Planted trees through the Green Ghana Project will need an enabling and supportive environment to grow. If laws on our forest and natural environment were actively working over the years, our country could not have lost 80% of its forest.
Therefore, laws on forestry vegetation must be enforced if we want to achieve any results of the Green Ghana Project.
Also as we plant these trees; consideration must be made to plant trees such as shea trees, dawadawa, rosewood, mangoes, cashew and other economic trees because of their benefits to vulnerable communities.
By Fidelis Awonodomo Da-uri (Development Communication Practitioner).
Green Ambassador for the Climate in Africa-CCAO-2020
Email: [email protected]