Brong Ahafo under threat of desertification – EPA Director

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday expressed concern about the increased rate of forest depletion in Brong-Ahafo and called on the Forestry Commission to draw up a comprehensive action plan to improve and preserve the remaining forest reserves in the Region.

Mrs. Philomena Boakye Appiah, Regional Director of the Agency made the call when she spoke at a seminar to commemorate the Regional celebration of the 2011 World Environment Day at Kato in Berekum Municipality.

The United Nations has set aside June 5, every year as a special day to draw attention of the global community to pertinent environmental problems and the need to protect the environment, as well as the resources therein for the survival of mankind.

The national launch of the 2011 environment day took place at Gbledi-Gbogame in the Volta Region under the theme, “Forests: Nature at your service”.

Mrs. Appiah said the increased destruction of the forests had made some parts of Brong Ahafo that hitherto did not experience flooding, drought, poor agricultural yields and loss of biodiversity “to be caught in such disasters”.

She said the Region, touted as the food basket of the country, could face food insecurity in the near future if the increasing forest depletion was not checked.

The Regional EPA Director said currently Wenchi, Techiman, Berekum and Kintampo municipalities and Nkoranza, Atebubu, Sene, Jaman South and Jaman
North Districts were desert-prone areas.

Mrs Appiah said available records showed that the Pamu-Berekum forest reserve which was established in 1932 with a total area of 189 kilometer square had been reduced to 91 kilometer square (a loss of 98 kilometer square in 58 years) in 1990, adding it had been reduced further to just 1 kilometer square (a loss of 90 kilometer square in the year 2000.

The Regional EPA Director stated that Tain II forest reserve was also established in 1934 with a total area of 509 kilometer square but had been reduced to 451 kilometer in 1990(a loss of 58 kilometer in 56 years) and by the year 2000 it had been reduced further to 108 kilometer square (a loss of 343 kilometer).

Mr. Stephen Lord Oppong, Berekum Municipal Chief Executive, attributed the alarming rate of forest destruction to illegal logging and fire outbreaks, and advised traditional authorities to endeavour to check the activities of chainsaw operators in their localities.

As part of activities to mark the celebration the EPA in collaboration with Kato community undertook a tree planting exercise at the Mfensi sacred grove at Kato.

The EPA, in collaboration with the chiefs and people of Kato, has over the last three years, with assistance from the Ahafo mine of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited at Kenyasi in Asutifi District of the Region, planted 4,000 varieties of tree seedlings to reforest degraded parts of the grove.

Source: GNA

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