By: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express
Agriculture expansion has been named as one of the driving forces of deforestation and forest degradation in the country.
This was recorded in a 20year (2016-2036) Forestry Development Master Plan (FDMP) document, prepared by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Agriculture
The document also mentioned illegal logging (chainsaw operation) and unauthorized mining (galamsey) operations in the forest areas, illicit and uncontrolled exploitation of wildlife, unsustainable production of wood fuel as some of the driving forces of deforestation and forest degradation.
The FDMP document mentioned that the increasing pressure on the forest resources will worsen in the coming decades as the result of rapid urbanization, population increase accompanied by rapidly increasing middle class citizens and high rate of urbanization. “There will be increasing demands for food, energy, human habitat, and transportation and these have direct implications on the forestry sector,” it added.
According to the document, the vision of the FDMP is to achieve a just, prosperous, and sustainable forestry sector that inclusively and continuously optimizes welfare and provides adequate means of livelihoods to all Ghanaians.
The objective of the FDMP plan is to manage and enhance the ecological integrity of Ghana’s forest, savannah, wetland and other ecosystems for the preservation of vital soil and water resources, conservation of biological diversity, carbon stock enhancement within a resilient environment for the sustainable production of domestic and commercial produce.
It is also to promote the rehabilitation and restoration of degraded landscapes through forest plantation development, enrichment planting, and community forestry informed by appropriate land-use practices to enhance environmental quality and sustain the supply of raw materials for domestic and industrial consumption and for environmental protection.
The plan will promote the development of viable forest and wildlife based industries and livelihoods particularly in the value added processing of forest and wildlife resources to satisfy domestic and international demand for competitively priced quality products.
“To promote and develop mechanisms for transparent governance, equity sharing and stakeholders participation in the forest, wildlife, wetlands and savannah resource management,” the plan stated.
It will also promote training, research-based and technology-led development that supports sustainable forest and wildlife management whilst promoting information uptake both by forestry institutions and the general public; and to promote and develop financing mechanisms for natural forest management, timber plantation development, plant, and machinery, development of tertiary processing activities, wood fuel processing, and micro/small forest based enterprises.