The Apamprama Forest Reserve in the Ashanti Region is being depleted by illegal miners, data from Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa), a research institution, has shown.
Satellite images captured and analysed by DE Africa show that mining activities within the forest increased from 5 per cent in 2019 to 10 per cent in 2020.
The Earth Observation data compiled between 2017 and 2021 also revealed that afforestation is rife in the forest, which houses a portion of the Ofin River.
These were contained in a presentation delivered by researchers at DE Africa at a ceremony to mark the 2021 African Statistics Day in Accra.
The Apamprama Forest Reserve is one of the four forest reserves located in the Amansie Central and Amansie West districts in the Ashanti Region. The reserve covers an area of about 36.28 kilometres square.
The Dean of International Relations at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Prof. Amos Kabobah, who led the presentation, cautioned that the country would lose a chunk of its forest cover if urgent action was not taken.
“The data shows that a lot of the forest land is changing to bare land as a result of increased mining and deforestation in the forest. The danger is that we are losing very productive land for agriculture and once the land is mined it will take us several years to recover,” he said.
He said satellite monitoring and data collection was one of the systems the country could adopt to keep track of its natural resources and also support sustainable development.
The Digital Earth Africa is therefore partnering with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to train and build the capacities of personnel in various institutions on how to collect and analyse satellite data, Prof. Kabobah said.
In May 1990, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) adopted November 18 as African Statistics Day.
The day is celebrated every year by national statistical offices in Africa to raise public awareness of the importance of statistics in all aspects of social and economic life.
This year’s week-long celebration, which is being spearheaded by the GSS, is on the theme: “Modernising national statistical systems to support sociocultural development in Africa”.
Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician, said the ceremony was an important activity on the calendar of the GSS as it offered the Service an opportunity to take stock of its past activities and strategise for the future.
He emphasised the importance of statistics in the country’s socioeconomic development, adding that the GSS was continuously modernising its systems to enhance the discharge of its mandate.
“It is too early to move away from traditional data sources (censuses and surveys). These non- traditional data sources mainly ride on the back of technology and we do not have the technological infrastructure and the needed support systems to move into these new non-traditional data sources,” he said.
Mr Gregory Andrews, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, underscored the need for the country to modernise its data gathering systems to inform planning and policy decisions.