Digital technology to monitor forestry-related illegal activities

A training workshop to build the capacity of forest fringe communities on the use of digital technology to monitor forestry-related illegal activities has been held at Sefwi-Wiawso in the Western Region.


The goal is to strengthen surveillance, particularly in the reserves to rein in illegal timber harvesting and agricultural activities, fueling the degradation of the nation’s forest.


It brought together participants from the Bibiani, Sefwi-Wiawso and Juaboso forest districts.
They were taught how to explore their web-based mobile phones to access information via the satellite to track day-to-day activities in the forest cover.

This would involve utilizing Landsat images and Global Forest Watch (GFW) data, as well as graphics to map deforestation hotspots and alert the law enforcement agencies.

The World Resources Institute, United States (US), under its GFW project, provided the funding for the training.

Mr. Emmanuel Amoah Boakye, Project Coordinator of the Working Group on Forest Certification, Ghana – an environmental NGO spearheading the programme, said a total of 30 community-forest committees would be trained.

The expectation is that the trainees would transfer knowledge and skills acquired to people in the other communities.

He said, leading the protection of the forest from the front by the local communities would bring enormous benefits to them – give them reasonable share of forest revenue through social responsibility agreements.

Mr. Amoah Boakye expressed concern about the high rate at which the nation was losing its forest cover and encouraged the people to show ownership of the reserves.

Many of the reserves, including Suhuma, Krokosua, Sui and Moro – all concentrated in the Western Region, had seen considerable degradation through unsupervised tree felling activities.
This, he noted, had had serious consequences, the loss of biodiversity and the ecology, extinction of some rare animal and tree species.

He said the programme would combine various methods – field demonstrations, media and community sensitizations, video documentation and information brochures to achieve set targets.

Mr. Lawrence Santanah, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Sefwi-Wiawso, in a speech read for him, pledged the assembly’s total support.

By Stephen Asante, GNA

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