SavIing Our Forests
Reports indicate that the desert is creeping fast to deplete our vegetation, particularly our forest reserves. And if we fail to check the effects of desertification on the vegetation especially in the three northern regions, we will live to regret the consequences.
A few years ago, Ghana could boast good vegetation in all the forest belts of the country.
Today the situation is a sad reflection of the indiscriminate felling of trees and the unscientific agricultural practices across the length and breadth of the country.
The damage that has been caused to our forest reserves is largely due to our inability to stick to sustainable forest management practices.
Although the country’s land mass has remained the same, the population of the country has tripled since the 1960s, yet we ignore sustainable development practices.
The indiscriminate felling of trees for timber and fuel wood, as well as agricultural practices, have resulted in extreme weather and climatic conditions across the country.
Storms, floods, drought, wild fires and many other natural disasters threaten the lives and livelihoods of our people throughout the country.
The recent floods in many parts of the country that resulted in the loss of innocent lives can be attributed partly to the change in climatic conditions. This threat is expected to grow if we do not adopt strategies that would reduce disasters.
The weather and climate change affect every sphere of human endeavour, including agriculture, public health, water sources, energy, transport and the overall socio-economic development of the country.
In response to the issue of climate change, many countries have formulated action plans to minimise the effects of global warming on society.
In recent times, climate change has brought in its wake very extreme weather conditions such as long drought, long periods of winter season and heavy rainfall, as well as high levels of the sea.
By our actions and inaction, our forest is under threat, largely because of the combined effects of uncontrolled agricultural practices, charcoal burning and operations of timber merchants, particularly chain-saw operators.
Our governments have tried in the past to bring the situation under control with very little success, because more often than not those appointed to check the activities end up conniving with the people who exploit our forest reserves.
The Daily Graphic is, however, happy that the government has found it prudent to set up an inter-agency security committee to check the activities of illegal chain-saw and galamsey operators in the country.
Inaugurating the committee, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Collins Dauda, said the move had become necessary in order to address the alarming rate at which the country’s forest was being depleted by chain-saw operators.
We need to save not only the green vegetation that guarantees our livelihoods, but also all animals and plants whose demise will aggravate global warming and associated changes in climate, thereby affecting the planet.
We trust in the integrity of the members of the committee and hope that they will work according to the terms of reference given to them by the government.
The Daily Graphic calls on the members of the committee to adopt stringent methods to stop the illegal activities of chain-saw and galamsey operators in order to reduce the effects of their activities on our society.
Task forces of this nature in the past failed to achieve the desired effect, because sooner than later those who were charged with the responsibility to police our forest reserves became part and parcel of the ‘exploitation brigade’.
The Daily Graphic hopes the members of the public will assist the inter-agency security committee to attain its objective of saving our forest from further depletion.