ENRRI advocates for protected forests in Ghana

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Kalakpa Forest Reserve
Forest

The Environment and Natural Resources Research Initiative (ENRRI-EfD Ghana) has organised a forum to discuss the need to preserve Ghana’s protected forests as a part of conservation efforts of the environment for posterity.

The workshop which brought together persons from forest related agencies, sought to find out how to influence policy regarding protected forest and to get the support of citizens on how best to prevent the ongoing depletion of forest reserves in Ghana.

In a presentation at the GIMPA Executive Conference Centre, Accra, the Dean, School of Sustainable Development, University of Development and Sustainability, Professor Anthony Amoah, observed that “everyone could attest to the benefits of having a viable forest since our food, medicine needs are tied to the forest.”

That notwithstanding, Prof Amoah hinted that forest reserves were constantly being depleted because people failed to know the benefits of these forests and therefore left them to the mercy of urbanization.

The Academic said, apart from providing the needed oxygen for human and animal survival, forests also served as the habitat of most animal species and therefore a learning grounds for research work, which made it so important a resource to be preserved.

Prof. Amoah insisted therefore that the economic benefits of the forest could not be overruled because of the potential it had in attracting tourists and other means of creating revenue for national development.

In that regard, the Professor observed the need to cultivate interest in the populace concerning the preservation of protected forests since the interest could drive efforts by state agencies to conserve forests reserves.

Prof Amoah also asked the institutions that had oversight over forest resources to work efficiently in order to win the trust of citizens “so that, collectively, we could protect the forests for posterity.”

“If we really want to protect our forests, then urban forests must also be in the focus,” Prof. Amoah added.

Professor Wisdom Akpalu, the Director of ENRRI-EfD Ghana, said forest reserves were not only for the current generation, but also for future generations, and therefore Ghanaians must not take decisions about the forest without having the next generation in mind.

Prof. Akpalu said preserving the forest for tomorrow was important because Ghanaians had no idea the benefits that awaited them should the forests survive till tomorrow.

He therefore cautioned, that, if it were possible, no forest resource should be cleared with the view of mining for minerals since the benefits of having a viable forest far outweighed the benefits from mining.

Dr. Kwami Adanu, Head of Economics Department, GIMPA, observed the need for publicity on the subject of forest conservation which would create awareness and rally support from the general public.

“We should talk about the fact that the protected forest are being depleted, we need to rise up as a country to deal with this issue.

In observing the economic benefits of preserving forest reserves, Dr. Adanu said, “Yes, world class ecotourism is feasible, and we need to push hard to realize such a good ambition which would bring in a lot of revenue,” he stressed.

Ghana’s protected forests such as the Achimota, Shai Hills, forests, etc. are currently being depleted which is a source of concern to the academic community.

The presentation was therefore premised on the need to find out what was the drivers behind the depletion of these forests, whether there was sustainable behaviour by citizens as far as protected forests were concerned, and the factors driving the sustainable behaviour in order to halt the rapid depletion for posterity.

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