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13.10.2003 Regional News

Asunafo forms committee to protect forests

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Goaso (B/A), Oct. 13, GNA- The Asunafo District Forestry Forum, one of seven pilot programmes constituted to give more meaning to the importance of forests and wildlife protection, has held its third general meeting at Goaso with a reminder to forest fringe communities to fight against the abuse of the nation's forest reserves.

The 49-member forum, formed under the auspices of the Forestry Commission, has been tasked to ensure that illegal lumbering and bushfires, the two most popular threats to the survival of forest reserves in the district, are reduced to their barest minimum. The forum has evolved an action plan to speed up the adjudication of forest-related cases at the courts, step up public education especially among the forest fringe communities and liase with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to, as a matter of urgency, include forestry as a separate and additional subject in schools' curricula at all levels of education.

The forum has also tailored a motion to the District Assembly to enact by-laws to protect and motivate Community Forest Committees (CFCS) in the discharge of their duties to protect the reserves against all forms of abuse.

Mr Samuel Afrane, District Planning Officer, stressed the need to inculcate in children the practice of growing and monitoring trees in order to make the practice part of Ghana's culture. He deplored reports of indiscriminate illegal logging in parts of the district, saying the practice does not augur well for the district's development.

He assured the forum of the Assembly's support and pledged that matters concerning the survival and sustenance of the forum would be given priority on the Assembly's annual budget.

The Queen mother of Goaso, Nana Abena Adutwumwaa, appealed to stakeholders in the district's forests to assume a more pro-active stance against perpetrators of forest depletion so as to preserve the natural forests and their products for posterity.

Chairman for the Forestry Forum, Alhaji Ishak Abubakar Bonsu, said the effort to ensure total protection for the forests meant that all Ghanaians must demonstrate total commitment to leaving a legacy for those yet unborn.

Alhaji Ishak Bonsu, who is also the District NADMO Coordinator, appealed to the forum to place premium on the prevention of bushfires and also endeavour to expose starters of disasters to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

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