Threats to the country’s biodiversity, including water and forest resources, are gradually undermining the livelihoods of more than 6,000,000 Ghanaians who rely on it for alternative sources of income, according to the Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 6 (GLSS 6) Report.
The Director, Resource Management Support Centre of the Forestry Commission, Dr Samuel Ayensu, who cited the report, expressed worry that many forest reserves were heavily encroached upon and degraded and the off-reserve stocks being rapidly depleted.
He said “by and large, the problem is one of gradual degradation rather than deforestation, and is incremental rather than dramatic, with no single dominant driver”.
Dr Ayensu was speaking at a day’s project inception and conservation workshop on the conservation of Ghana’s threatened tree resources for sustainable development at Fumesua in Kumasi.
It was organised by the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-FORIG) with sponsorship from the Franklinian Foundation.
According to him, the report noted that most of the rural population (2.5 million) people depended on the forests for their livelihood or for the provision of food, clothing, shelter, furniture, potable water and bush meat.
Dr Ayensu said that despite its contribution to Ghana’s economy, the people continued to destroy the bio-diversity system through forest depletion.
Professor Daniel A. Ofori, Director, CSIR-FORIG, explained that the workshop marked the beginning of the coordination role of CSIR-FORIG on the conservation of threatened tree species in the country.
He said the role of CSIR-FORIG was to assist government on the formulation of science and technology policies for the realisation of its developmental objectives, to develop, package and disseminate science and technology information.
Prof. Ofori noted that CSIR-FORIG research covered a wide range of activities in industry, agriculture, forestry, environment, health, natural and social science, and there was the need for the Forestry Commission to work with stakeholders to deal with forest depletion.
He explained that, the role of CSIR-FORIG was to encourage co-ordinated scientific research for the management, utilisation and conservation of natural resources towards national development.
Mr James Amponsah, the Project Manager, said there was the need to protect tree species that were gradually getting extinct due to increased agriculture activities and over cultivation.
He called on government, Forestry Commission, non-governmental organisations and individuals to work together in protecting the forests and ecosystem.