Divert attention from granting exploitation licenses – Forestry Commission urged

The Forestry Commission (FC) has been called upon to urgently divert its attention from granting of exploitation licenses, permits and conveyance certificates to growing and preserving the country’s forests cover.

Vision 2050 Forestry (VFL), a non-governmental advocacy body which made the call said “this is urgent as deforestation is changing weather pattern, drying up rivers and reducing agricultural output.”

The FC it said must as well confront illegal logging seriously as it threatens livelihood and existence of rural communities.

Dr Frank Frempong, Chief Executive Officer, VFL explained that the FC must be at the forefront in restoring the country’s forests, adding that the legal framework must be amended to allow for more private participation.

According to him, Ghana’s tropical forest cover had decreased from 8.6 million hectares at the beginning of the 1900s to about 1.6 million hectares in 1990, and the deforestation rate was high.

“VTF’s major concern is that about 98 per cent of lumber in our markets is illegal. How do the perpetrators cross all the security and forestry check points without arrests? We are all at risk,” said Dr Frempong, adding that VTF had invested US$120 million to grow 200 million trees nationwide and suggests that demand for wood by the current generation can be met by culling only five per cent every year.

“In view of the magnitude of the harm humans have collectively caused the planet earth, we require climate friendly ideas to drastically reduce or reverse the trend,” he said.

According to recent reports from the NASA observatory in Mauna Loa in Hawai, the concentration of carbon dioxide ( the main agent causing global warming) has exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in recorded history.

The centre observes that since its first recording in 1958, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has increased by 24 per cent.

This trend shows increasing danger for our existence on earth; heedless we are though.

“Private financing of greenhouse emission reduction projects, both domestic and international, can play a critical role in mitigating risk and leveraging greater private investment in climate projects,” he said.

He noted that VFL had so far engaged 300,000 farm managers in 850 communities across the country to oversee its planted trees.

Dr. Frempong said “It is surprising that several logging concessions have been granted in forest reserves, and gold exploitation and mining leases have been granted in the country’s forest reserves to mining companies.

He said “The result is that Ghana has been transformed in the last 100 years from a lush forest country a low-forest cover country, and now our children, water bodies and wildlife are at risk.”

By Times Reporter

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