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11.01.2005 General News

Forestry Services receive grant

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Accra, Jan. 11, GNA - Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei, Country Director of Conservation International (CI) on Tuesday said Ghana could no longer boast of it unique biological resources because she was facing serious species extinction crisis.

He said a number of species, which were in existence two, or more decades ago were either endangered or extinct.

Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei made this known when he presented a cheque for 926 million cedis grant to the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission for the year 2005.

The amount is to stem the extinction crisis effectively. He noted that a report on a nation-wide survey on totems by CI confirmed that about 98 per cent of all totems of the 110 Paramount Traditional Areas in Ghana were likely to be endangered or become extinct.

He said 59 wildlife species including reptiles, birds, angulates, primates and other mammals could no longer be found and were feared to have become extinct.

CI, he said, was responding to the crisis, which was a global one, by designating 25 areas in the world as biodiversity hotspot with Ghana forming part of the Guinean Forest Ecosystem.

"To ensure sustainable biodiversity conservation CI was focusing on the Western Region of Ghana on three strategic conservation outcomes - Extinct Avoidance, Endangered and Restricted Range Plants and Animal Species", he said.

CI's Strategy, he said, was based on leveraging resources to support local partners and building alliances with donors, government agencies among other organisations to help guide conservation investment, influence policies and promote good resource governance.

Mr Anthony Boachie-Dapaah, Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, said by the release of the amount, CI had proven that they were not giving lip service to conservation but were in the position to back good intentions with deeds.

He said their dealings with CI were a brilliant example of collaboration characterized by oneness of purpose and willingness to complement each other's strengths and capabilities.

Mr John Otoo, Executive Director of the Forestry Services Division, said the areas designated as the Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBA) had notably high levels of biological diversity and widely known to harbour rare and endangered plant and animal species.

He said the strategic importance for the maintenance of valuable genetic resources for present and future benefits also provided a strong indication of Ghana's contribution to achieving the aims of the convention on Biological Diversity, which the nation was signatory to. He said he was hopeful that the GSBA concept as a pacesetting endeavour would provide a model for others to learn from.

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