Forestry Commission to ensure full exploitation of Ghana’s timber yields

The Forestry Commission (FC) will from January 2011 begin implementation of an initiative to ensure that Timber Utilisation Contract (TUC) holders exploit all timber stems that have been approved as yield in their compartments.

Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, said all yields from forest reserves would be given in terms of stem numbers and corresponding volume estimates. He added that, a total value of the yield would be given as 100 per cent during pre-billing.

The move, he said, was to reduce the leftovers of stems and ensure that economic timber resource value of each compartment was achieved.

Mr Dartey was speaking at stakeholders’ forum to discuss the new initiative on Tuesday, which aims at ensuring sustainability in the forest sector and increase utilization and economic value of timber resources.

It was under the theme: “The Role of the Timber Industry and Land Owners in Sustainable Forest Management in Ghana”.

Traditional rulers, operators in the timber industry, NGOs in forest management, timber workers and research scientists and academics in the forest sector attended the forum.

Currently 82 timber species, representing 11.5 per cent of all trees in the High Forest Zone, have been recorded as being exploited as commercial timber in Ghana.

However, available exploitation records indicate that exploitation is skewed towards the preferred 25 species, which most of the times contributed to less than 50 per cent of stems approved as yield.

This has resulted in the estimated loss of GH¢13,825.65 in stumpage (revenue) per compartment to the state.

Mr Dartey said on the average, 51 per cent of stems approved as yield is leftover in compartments.

He said between 2005 and 2009 a total of GH¢2,721,478.32, was lost in stumpage as a result of leftovers in compartments.

The leftovers do not only pave way for illegal chain sawn operations immediately the compartment is closed but most of the mature leftovers perpetually hinder the growth of juvenile trees and other light demanding species.

Mr Dartey said as part of the initiative, the Commission would encourage TUC holders to enter agreement with some local operators near the resources so that they harvest the species and sell them for processing for the local market.

This will not only create jobs for the local people, but also increase lumber supply to the local market, reduce illegal chain sawn activities within the forest reserve and increase revenue to all forest stakeholders.

Mr Kofi Afum Bafforh, Manager in-charge of Timber Production at FC said currently, volume estimates were being determined on a pilot basis to test the reliability of the various volume equations.

He said the success of the exercise would determine the future management options such as mode of yield allocation and forest revenue collection.

Mr Edward Obiaw, Director of Resource Management Support Centre of FC, said current benefits from the forestry sector could be substantially increased if corrective measures were effectively implemented.

He added that opportunities existed for Ghana to benefit a lot from the Global Carbon Fund if the country reduced forest degradation and deforestation and sustainable managed its forest resources.

Mr Raphael Yeboah, Executive Director of the Forest Services Division, said the FC intended to do stakeholder connectivity by looking for more consultation, participation and equity in all forest initiatives and called on the participants to bring ideas that would help to sustain the country’s forest for posterity.

Osahene Kwaku Atakyi II, Paramount chief of Kukuom Traditional Area and a member of FC, stressed the need to ensure that all initiatives reflected in the vision of the FC, which seeks to ensure well sustainable forest for future generation.

Source: GNA

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