The Forestry Commission has planted a number of trees on some 26,865 hectares (ha) of land under the forest landscape restoration strategy, exceeding the annual target of 25,000 ha to be executed by both the public and private sectors.
Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, who announced this at the end of year review, said it was the first time since the implementation of the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy (GFPS) that the annual target has been exceeded.
He said that at the end of planting activities in October this year, the public sector led by the Forestry Commission planted 22,486 ha of the total of 26,865 ha.
The public sector target was exceeded mainly through the implementation of Youth in Afforestation and Reforestation Project (YAP).
Other initiatives that contributed include Modified Taungya System (MTS) and Forest Investment Programme (FIP).
Species planted included Teak, Cedrela, Gmelina, Ofram, Emire, Mahogany, Rosewood, among others.
Mr Afriyie said the private sector established 4,379 ha as at the end of the third quarter of the year and projected to reach 6,000 ha by the end of January 2020.
Under the Enrichment Planting an area of 4,490 ha of enrichment planting was undertaken within partly degraded forest reserves out of an annual target of 5,000ha, he said.
This activity was undertaken solely under the Youth in Afforestation/Reforestation Project (YAP).
There was also maintenance of existing plantations of over 10,000 ha mainly in Bono, Bono East and Ahafo, Western and Western North Regions under the FIP.
On procurement and production of tree seedlings, Mr Afriyie said contracts covering a total of 25 million tree seedlings were executed by the Forestry Commission with a total of 654 contractors across the country. An estimated total of 24 million seedlings was supplied and planted.
Species planted include Ofram, Emire, Wawa, Kokrodua, Teak, Cedrela, Gmelina, Cassia, Eucalyptus, Mahogany, among others.
Some of the seedlings were used for beating-up and also for replanting in failed areas within previous years’ coupes.
An additional 1.4 million tree seedlings were produced by the YAP beneficiaries across the country for planting.
Mr. Afriyie said a total of 83,000 persons were directly engaged under this year’s forest plantation programme, including 46,000 engaged under the Youth in Afforestation/ Reforestation Project, 15,000 under the Modified Taungya System, and an estimated 2,000 persons engaged in seedling production.
The private sector also employed an estimated 20,000 persons nationwide. To protect the Natural Forests a total of 17,422km of forest reserve boundaries were cleaned and inspected and 33,945km boundaries were patrolled.
Mr. Afriyie said to combat the increasing spate of illegal logging, mining, farming and other illegal activities in our forest reserves and wildlife protected areas, the Commission was seeking approval from the Public Procurement Authority to procure 1,000 arms and ammunitions for Forest and Wildlife Guards to aid effective patrolling of our forest and wildlife estates.
He said the move had become necessary because in spite of the efforts of the Forest and Wildlife Guards as well as that of the Rapid Response Teams and the National Task Force (Military and Forestry Commission Staff), illegalities continued across the nation’s forest and wildlife protected areas.
Awards were presented to deserving staff, who had put up sterling performances in the year.