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18.11.2004 General News

Over exploitation of forest threatens our existence

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Agona Swedru, Nov 18, GNA - The Executive Director of the Game and Wild life Society (GWS), Dr Erasmus H. Owusu, has warned that over exploitation of forest resources threaten the existence of Forest Reserves and National Parks.

He said loggers especially chain saw operators armed to the teeth were harvesting lumbers with impunity even in reserves since, the lives of innocent forest guards were threatened.

Dr Owusu announced this at a national biodiversity awareness campaign workshop for stakeholders at Agona Swedru organised jointly by the Forestry Commission and Forest Services Department.

The Executive Director pointed out that this threatened the country's limited forest reserves and biodiversity resources. He said this did not only threaten species of wild fauna, but also resulted in drastic climatic changes in most areas while water bodies were drying up or polluted.

Dr Owusu said Ghana, once boasted of about 1.83 billion hectares of pristine rainforest, which historically formed part of a continuous band of the "Guinean forest" from Senegal to Cameroon.

He stated that over the past 100 years, this had been reduced to fragmented blocks of about 1.6 million of which only 32,000 hectares mostly forest reserves in excellent condition.

The Executive Director noted with concern that the world biodiversity was beset with over exploitation, degradation and rapid population growth hence the need for conservation. Dr Owusu enumerated some of the threats to biodiversity and the environment, which affected the survival of human beings such as the slash and burn method of farming, indiscriminate hunting of wild animals, use of toxic chemicals and indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste.

He called on individuals and the society to understand and appreciate biodiversity and the need for its conservation and support. Mr G B L Siilo, Agona District Co-ordinating Director, urged Assembly Members, chiefs, land owners and other stake holders to guard against the over exploitation forest resources in order to protect the environment.

He asked the stakeholders not to condone and connive with people whose activities were aimed at worsening the plight of the people as far as biodiversity and conservation were concerned.

Mr Siilo suggested to the government to empower national institutional bodies to enable the personnel to work effectively to protect nation's forest reserves. He called for regular national biodiversity awareness workshops to sensitise the stakeholders on the importance of conservation to curb the fast degradation of the environment.

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