The Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG) an environmental-oriented organization has in collaboration with the Forestry Service Division of Bechem District and the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) held an awareness raising workshop on sustainable forest resources management.
The workshop was held at Konkontreso in the Asutifi South District of the Ahafo Region of Ghana, bringing participants from communities bordering the Bosom Kese Forest reserve. The communities include, Acheresua, Maban, Akwasiase, Konkontreso and environs.
The event was part of a project being implemented by LEG with financial support from Womadix Fund through Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) to raise awareness on Sustainable use of Ghana’s Forest Resources. It sought to further strengthen stakeholders’ collaboration especially the fringe communities, forestry commission, regulators, academia and civil society organizations on sustainable forest management.
Forests play important roles in maintaining and balancing the natural ecosystem. The role of forest cover in hydrological and carbon cycles in the atmosphere is enough evidence of its importance and the need to protect its cover. The high rate of deforestation in Ghana as a result of farming in the forest reserves, bush-fires, chain-saw operation (i.e. illegal felling of trees), poor harvesting and logging technology, mining (legal and Galamsey) in the forest reserves have become concerned for the government of Ghana and other patriotic individuals and organizations.
Addressing participants, Mr. Akoto Sarfo, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Climate Change and Gender Studies at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) explained that in order to attain sustainable forest resources management, there is the need to strengthen the relationship between all stakeholders.
That, he said, could be achieved if all stakeholders are abreast of issues relative to the importance of the forest resource to the existence of humanity.
He highlighted the importance of trees from the leaves to roots, their medicinal importance and as source of food. The forests also help in carbon sequestration, reduce climate change effects, provide oxygen, stabilize soil, improve air quality, conserve water and serve as a source of foreign exchange (income) among other benefits.
He laid much emphasis on ozone layer and the effects of CO2 which is causing depletion on the ozone and linked it with the climate change and the important role trees play in the absorption of carbon dioxide (45%).
“To achieve the sustainable management of our forest resources,all stakeholders must own the resources. That’s we should consider the resources as our own property.”
In his submission the Bechem District Manager of the Forestry Service Division, Mr. Dominic Oteng posited that the greatest enemy to the forest is bush-fire. He said the Bush-fires are normally perpetuated by chain-saw operators, hunters, farmers and climate change but the most influential one is the chain-saw operators who intentionally set fire in the forest.
The event constituted a 10- member committee under the name ‘Community Forest Protection Guards -CFPG)’.
Each Member of the CFPG was presented with a machete and safety boot. The CFPG is expected to assist the Forestry Services Division (FSD) in the protection of the reserved from fire and other illegal activities.
On his part Mr. Richard Adjei-Poku, Executive Director of LEG advised participants to take the message from the forum seriously and be “the doers of the word since their long live depend largely on the forest resources.”
He quoted a study conducted by Max Planck Institute for Human Development and published in Nature Science Report in Oct; 2017 which says that “It’s been confirmed many times that humans are better able to cope with chronic stress and are happier when connected with nature particularly forests.”
Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG) is a social, environment and human rights not-for-profit and non-governmental advocacy organization established in 2004 in response to the growing threats from mining operation of Newmont. LEG which began in only one community Kenyasi No2 now operates in 34 communities within six administrative regions in Ghana; Eastern, Central, Bono, Ahafo, Ashanti and Western North. LEG works to promote environmental justice, community rights and gender equality particularly in communities affected by mining operations in Ghana.