Bawku (UE), Jan 19, GNA-The Bawku Municipal branch of the Forestry Commission (FC) is undertaking a rescue mission to restore the dwindling forest resources of 1000 hectares of degraded landscape in both on-forest reserves and off-reserves in the Municipality and its environs this year.
The exercise is part of Government’s intervention to enhance environmental quality through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and its stakeholders, that is to restore and establish degraded Forest lands and incorporate trees on farmlands.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bawku, Upper East Region, Mr Emmanuel Omane, the Bawku Forestry Manager, said heavy pressure on natural forest resources was high and the impact on rural livelihoods in the Bawku enclave unbearable.
He noted that overgrazing by domestic animals and rampant wildfires among others had significantly contributed negatively to the inability of the forest to produce timber resources, protect soil structure, water sources and biodiversity in the Bawku enclave.
He listed the high demand for forest resources such as timber, poles, fuel wood and other non-timber forest products (NTFP) for domestic and wood based products as the cause of environmental degradation militating against the forest.
Mr Omane said Government introduced the National Forest Plantation Strategy in 2017, which among other things identified challenges of past efforts and had outlined a new strategic direction, to promote the development of productive and sustainable planted forests.
Mr Omane said his outfit had from 2018 to 2020 planting period, rehabilitated and established about 250 hectares with site-matching tree species such as Kapok and Mahogany in some degraded portions in the Bawku Forest District, specifically 100 hectares in the East Red Volta Forest Reserve in Bawku West District, 30 hectares in the Morago West Forest Reserve in Garu District and 10 hectares in Zawse plantation Forest Reserve in Binduri District.
The others he said include; 50 hectares for Upper Tamne Block V in Bawku Municipal, 20 hectares in Upper Tamne Block III in Tempane District and 40 hectares in Upper Tamne Block IV in Tempane.
Meanwhile, in the area of Amenity Planting, he indicated that over 60,000 of various tree seedlings species were distributed to various Public Schools, farmers, NGO’s and individuals on demand to help in the rescue mission in the Bawku Forest District which he noted would increase forest cover.
Also, responding to some expected challenges likely to occur in the current ongoing construction of the Pwalugu Multipurpose dam project in the Upper East Region, Mr Emmanuel Omane indicated that out of the 262km sq of the surface area that would be occupied by water after the construction of the Dam, over 120 kmsq of the surface area of Forest Reserves within the enclave would be submerged in water.
This he said would create huge displacement on both fauna and flora species within the project enclave thereby triggering more environmental challenges.
As part of ensuring good governance of the forests, Mr Omane further stated that, the Bawku Forest District engaged often with stakeholders including; the District Assemblies, the Kusaug Traditional Authority and law enforcement agencies to enforce compliance to statutes governing the resources as well as disseminate information necessary to boost environmental conservation.