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11.03.2006 General News

Annual cost of forest depletion is $300m - Director

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Fumesua (Ash), March 11, GNA - It has been established that the annual cost of forest depletion to the country stands at 300 dollars, Dr. Joseph Cobbinah, Director of the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), has stated.

He, however, expressed worry that the depletion rate far out-weighed the revenue declared by the timber industry, which is pegged at between 170 and 200 million dollars annually.

Dr. Cobbinah made these known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, (GNA) at Fumesua near Kumasi on Friday on the state of depletion of the country's forests and steps being taken by FORIG to ensure regeneration of the forest.

He attributed the ascending rate of depletion of the forest and the low revenue generated from the industry mostly to illegal loggers. The FORIG Director regretted that even though the forest resources were being depleted at a faster rate, the non-timber tree species "were more of victims of the depletion than the timber trees". Dr. Cobbinah said as part of measures to properly manage and sustain the forest, FORIG had established what they described as "Tree orchards" in various parts of the country.

The tree orchards are a group of differently identified tree species, located in their numbers in various parts of the country, and from where tree species like Ofram, Odum, sapelle, cedrella among others, could be found and explored if the need arose. Dr. Cobbinah said even though the FORIG was doing its best, "the effort may not yield the desired impact unless such efforts are backed up by an improved forestry policy and change of attitude of Ghanaians to the environment". 11 March 06