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10.08.2005 Regional News

Jamra forestry taskforce appeals for more military personnel


Breman Jamra (C/R), Aug 10, GNA - Mr Yaw Arhor, Chairman of the Jamra Community Forestry Taskforce in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District, has appealed to the Ministry of Defence to release more military personnel to beef up patrols in the Wawashie Forest Reserve at Jamra in the Central Region.

He said this would go a long way to end the activities of chain saw operators and sawn lumber dealers in the area.

Mr Arhor who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Breman Jamra on Sunday, expressed appreciation to the Central Regional Forestry Taskforce for the prompt response it gave to the appeal for assistance to protect the reserve from further destruction by chain saw operators.

He said the call had become necessary because most of the chainsaw operators and sawn lumber dealers threatened members of the taskforce with weapons, which was preventing them from working efficiently. Mr Arhor said that the chain saw operators and the sawn lumber dealers had created six camps in the Breman Jamra Wawashie Reserve. According to him the chain saw operators had even named one of the camps "Winneba-Junction" where they had pistols and short guns to threaten the taskforce patrolling the forest.

The Chairman identified the other camps as Nkwanta, Akawusu, Ohiamakyen, Towoaboase and Adaanan.

He appealed to the Forestry Commission to provide the Regional and Community Taskforce with tractors to evacuate beams and lumber locked up in the reserve because of the presence of the military. He also suggested to the Ministry of Lands and Forestry to sell the large quantity of timber that had piled up in the forest to contractors. Mr Arhor urged the Forestry commission to provide adequate resources to the taskforce to enable the members to work effectively to protect the reserve.

He stated that about 75 percent of the nation's forests had been depleted through the illegal activities of chainsaw operators and asked the other security agencies to join the military in the exercise. The Chairman stated that the taskforce had recovered a quantity of sawn beams and lumber, which were abandoned by chainsaw operators from the forest.

Mr Arhor appealed to the security agencies in the district to track down a truck at Breman-Asikuma, which was being used to evacuate sawn timber and lumber in the area.

He appealed to the Police and the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) to assist in the fight against illegal felling of trees in the forest reserve, adding that, the rainfall pattern had changed in the area due to the depletion of the forest.