Research by the Forest Research Institute of Ghana under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-FORIG) shows that about 40 tree species are at risk of extinction due to activities such as illegal mining, deforestation, bush burning for charcoal, illegal logging, and agricultural activities.
Stakeholders including CSIR-FORIG, are deeply concerned about these activities, which are endangering the existence of vital trees, and are calling for urgent measures to combat them.
The threat to many tree resources is a significant concern for CSIR-FORIG, the Forestry Commission, and other stakeholders, who are calling for collaborative efforts to help tackle the issue.
In a bid to find collective solutions to address this “crisis,” the Forest Research Institute of Ghana under CSIR, the Forestry Commission, and various stakeholders converged in Kumasi to brainstorm solutions to address the various threats affecting the sustainability of trees in the country.
Professor Daniel Ofori, the Director of the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), emphasized that many tree species are endangered due to various factors, necessitating urgent measures to address the situation.
“If you go into the landscape, there are a number of trees that are being threatened. Some of them are being endangered while some are vulnerable. We don’t want this to continue. We need to save these species. In order to save them, we need to come up with a conservation action plan. CSIR-FORIG is to play a coordinating role to coordinate research activities within the country and also advise the government on any scientific issues that pertain to development within the country.”
“So this is the role that CSIR is playing in the coordination of tree conservation activities. So we have a number of stakeholders that CSIR-FORIG is working with. So what we want to do is to coordinate and write comprehensive reports to the government and the donors so through this we can synthesize policy issues that we need the government to implement. So this is a framework that we are going to develop on the modalities for reporting, modalities for linking up with all the partners so that we are able to come up with a comprehensive report. So we are all working towards conservation of threatened trees species,” Prof. Ofori stated.
James Amponsah, Principal Technologist at FORIG, expressed hope that the conservation project they are undertaking will contribute to the restoration of Ghana’s forests.
“FORIG is implementing a series of projects, such as the conservation actions, to ensure that these trees are protected. One of them is to undertake extensive surveys, going to the forest across the country and searching for these trees. They are very rare. You cannot conserve what you don’t know. So there’s a field team that goes to these forests to identify these trees.”
“We tag them, and ensure that they are protected. We also go ahead to collaborate with communities, because when the communities are made aware of the status of the trees, they can help in their protection. We also do propagation. We raise seedlings. We collect seedlings and keep them in the seed bank as a safety measure against future extinction,” James Amponsah explained.
With many forest reserves in Ghana facing consistent threats due to the activities of illegal miners, the Forestry Commission says it is collaborating with the military to clamp down on such practices.
Dr. Samuel Ayensu, Manager for Forest and Inventory and Mensuration at the Forestry Commission has disclosed that his outfit’s partnership with the military in embarking on enforcement has started yielding positive results.
“Mining has become a major challenge to the management of our forest and tree resources, and the Forestry Commission is taking bold steps in that respect to enhance the protection of our forest and tree resources, especially threatened ones. In that regard, the Forestry Commission is doing this through awareness creation, and the Forestry Commission is even working jointly with the military to arrest and prosecute offenders to deter others from encroaching on our reserves and undertaking illegal mining. A number of steps have been taken, and quite a number of people have been arrested over time. Though we have had some challenges, we are making significant efforts, and that is also helping to reduce the encroachment of our reserves by illegal miners,” Dr. Samuel Ayensu explained.