The Navrongo Forest Services Division Manager, Emmanuel Owusu, has cited the activities of illegal logging contractors as a future threat to the Green Ghana Programme— a government initiative launched recently to fight forest depletion with 5 million trees.
He mentioned this to journalists when his outfit commenced the programme with a tree-planting ceremony on Friday at Navrongo, the capital of the Kassena-Nankana Municipality.
“Everybody needs wood to fence or roof their buildings. So, people want to cut trees illegally. Here, you cannot cut a tree without special permit. My men are on the ground, preventing them from doing that (from felling mature trees). We have got trees of commercial value here.
“Some also want to cut them for commercial purposes. Contractors want to take advantage of them. But my men are on the ground. If we get you, we will prosecute you. Look at our environment. Our environment is getting deteriorated and if we don’t plant trees now to replace the lost ones, a time will come you cannot even live here,” he said.
According to him, 50,000 trees, comprising more than 7,000 species, are set to be planted in four political districts under the Navrongo Forest Services Division— the Builsa South District, the Builsa North Municipality, the Kassena-Nankana Municipality and the Kassena-Nankana West District.
“Here, we have a lot of stray animals. You can see it— they are roaming around. So, if you plant without fencing them, stray animals will just come and consume them. We have educated the people and they are aware that they need to protect all the planted species. The education has gone down to the people and the people have embraced it.
“We have planted some of the trees in the hinterlands. That place, stray animals don’t go there. Fire protection is rest-assured. Protection from stray animals is rest assured. Our only challenge is the rain. You can’t predict it. We pray the rain will come so that we get enough rain for the trees to survive,” he added.
Nurture what you plant— Paramount Chief of Navrongo
The Navrongo Forest Services Division says it has engaged about 72 stakeholders so far— including schools, health facilities, local government assemblies, religious worship centres and civil organisations among others— and it is expecting more to join in executing the tree-planting exercise under the Green Ghana Programme in the four political districts.
The ceremony, heralded by a heavy downpour across the Upper East Region, also saw scores of residents join staff of the Navrongo Forest Services Division in a street march through the roads in the capital town to the palace of the Paramount Chief of the Navrongo Traditional Area, Pe Asagepaare II.
“It’s not only the planting. When you plant a tree, also make sure you nurture it to grow. When the trees are many around, they serve as windbreaks to protect our buildings. If you plant a tree, make sure it grows. Don’t just plant it and leave it there. When you plant and leave it there, it’s useless. Take very good care of it and let it grow,” emphasised the Paramount Chief when he planted a seedling at his palace in front of a crowd of forestry officials and residents in commemoration of the Green Ghana Day (June 11).
Addressing newsmen, the Assistant Navrongo Forest Services Division Manager, Isaac Adom-Domfeh, said the Green Ghana Programme had come to stay and would be observed year after year.
“The Green Ghana Programme does not preclude the existing forest plantation programmes. We have the National Forest Plantation Programme, the Modified Taungya System, the Private Commercial Plantation Developers, Community Forest Management Programme, Model Plantation, the Expanded Plantation Programme and others.
“These programmes are ongoing. So, the Green Ghana Programme has come to complement what we already have. And it’s going to be an annual programme. Yearly, we are going to develop the attitude of planting to commemorate the Green Ghana Programme,” he said.
By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region – Daily Mail GH