Chief executive of the Forestry Commission, Samuel Afari Dartey, has expressed great worry over the loss of sixty-nine gallant forest guards and wildlife rangers from 2011 to date as illegal forest operators continue to brutally attack them. He said this during the commemoration of the third forestry week celebration.
Despite the losses, Mr. Dartey assures the state of the commission’s resolve and commitment to continue to sacrifice to protect the forest heritage. He revels the commission is increasing the numerical strength of the Rapid Response Team of the forestry guards and enhance their logistics to enable them effectively combat criminals.
He added that in order to get protection of laws governing forestry, the commission has also trained cadre of its staff to assist the Office of Public Prosecutor to more effectively dispose of forest and wildlife offences.
In a more disturbing revelation, Mr. Dartey indicated that the country’s forest cover which stood at 8.6 million hectares, by the turn of 19th century, now stands at 1.8 million hectares. He believes tree planting is one sure way of getting the depleted forests back. Due to this he promised that his outfit in collaboration with other corporate donor agencies will secure funds for the purchase of fast growing tree seedlings to replenish the lost forests.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dartey seized a moment to congratulate Mayor of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Mr. Kojo Bonsu and the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana for birthing the Kumasi Urban Forestry Project aimed at planting over one million trees in Kumasi. He hope other assemblies will emulate this example.
He used the occasion to appeal to the media to give preference to news items on forest conservation and preservation for the benefit of future generations.
In a bid to protect the forest reserves based on laws governing the forestry, Executive director of the Forestry Services Division, Mr. Raphael Yeboah indicates that persons who fell tress within the perimeter of the reserves flouts the law and incurs a fine of two-thousands cedis a penalty. He adds that it becomes even more criminal when people fell trees within the commissions’ perimeter for timber sale without proper documentations and clearance from the commission.`
Human resource director of the Forestry Commission who also doubles as National Planning Commission, Andy Osei Okra called on both chainsaw and tree felling operators to regularize their businesses with the commission to avoid confrontations from forest guards and wildlife rangers.
More interesting to note, Journalists and officials of the Ministry of lands and Natural resources among some members of the general public were opportune to plant different types of trees with their names attached to them as growers at the Achimota forest reserve. In all over two hundred trees were planted at the reserve.
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