08.04.2005 Regional News

Australia donates seedlings to help Volta Region's environment

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Accra, April 8, GNA - The people of Lume in the Volta Region have a cleaner, greener future ahead of them, thanks to a donation of 500 tree seedlings for a community-based reforestation programme by the Australian High Commission.

The seedlings were supplied from a nursery in Ho, which was established by a local non-government organisation, N.S. Agency with a grant from the Australian High Commission's Direct Aid Program. Australian High Commissioner, Mr Jonathan Richardson attended a durbar in Lume Atsyame on Thursday April 7 to hand over the seedlings officially to the Chief of Lume Atsyame, Togbe Agbenyedzo IV. A statement from the High Commission on Friday said at the durbar the High Commissioner and Togbe Agbenyedzo IV symbolically planted the first of the seedlings, which would be used to re-vegetate the surrounding forest that had been degraded by illegal logging. Mr Richardson also visited the nursery and inspected the hundreds of seedlings now growing there. These seedlings would be progressively distributed to communities in the Region for their reforestation programmes.

In his address to the durbar, the High Commissioner stressed the importance of the community acting as custodians of the trees for future generations and explained that reforestation was important to prevent soil erosion and increased salinity and in putting nutrients back into the soil and to preserve the biodiversity of the area. Mr Richardson said Australia had a proud record of achievement in the area of sustainable land management and had been one of the first countries in the world to implement government-funded community-based reforestation programmes.

These had been successful in helping to re-vegetate as much as 10 per cent of Australia's lost forests over the past five years, he said. Mr Richardson explained that Australian companies also led the world in developing practical solutions to environmental problems such as renewable energy sources, bushfire and marine environment management and rehabilitation of the natural environment after mineral extraction.

Australia, whose large landmass is characterised predominantly by sub-tropical regions, savannah and desert, faces many of the same problems as Ghana in the area of land management, the High Commissioner said.

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