MMDAs Urged To Implement Adopt, Implement Forests and Wildlife Policy

Mr. Norbert Akolbila, Executive Director of Movement for Natural Regeneration (MONAR), a Bolgatanga-based environmental NGO, has urged District Assemblies in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to as a matter of urgency adopt and implement the strategies in the 2012 forests and wildlife policy.

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Two manchurian tiger cubs frolic at Qingdao Forest Wildlife World in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 26, 2015. Seven manchurian tiger cubs and four African lion cubs here, all of which are three months old, met with the press recently. (Xinhua/Yu Fangping) (lfj)

This, the Executive Director stressed, would help arrest the spate of the depletion of a lot of forest reserves in the regions.

Two elephants are seen in the Chobe National Park, northern Botswana, March 24, 2015. The Kasane Conference on The Illegal Wildlife Trade was held on Tuesday in Kasane, the gateway to the Chobe National Park, with delegations from 35 countries and around 20 international organizations. (Xinhua/Lu Tianran)(azp)
Two elephants are seen in the Chobe National Park, northern Botswana, March 24, 2015. The Kasane Conference on The Illegal Wildlife Trade was held on Tuesday in Kasane, the gateway to the Chobe National Park, with delegations from 35 countries and around 20 international organizations. (Xinhua/Lu Tianran)(azp)

The 2012 forests and wildlife policy was formulated by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources as strategic interventions and guidelines to help reverse forests and wildlife depletion.

Mr Akolibila who is also an Advocate for the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), stressed that if serious measures were not taken by the Assemblies to adopt and lead the process of the implementation of the strategies in the 2012 forests and wildlife policy , the forests reserves protecting the White and Red Volta Rivers such as the Red Volta West Forests Reserve in Bongo and Nabdam Districts of the Upper East Region including others in the two regions would be completely depleted.

He attributed the spate of depletion of forest reserves in the areas to human activities such as indiscriminate cutting down of trees for firewood and charcoal burning , population growth, agricultural expansion , sand winning among others.

“It is for this reason that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has formulated the 2012 forests and wildfire policy with very good strategic interventions and guidelines to reverse forests and wildlife depletion” he noted.

He stated that the implementation of the policies would not only help restore some of the depleted forest reserves and wildlife, but would also help to ensure that communities and individual farmers benefit from wood and non-wood tree products on their farms and communal fallow lands.

“To ensure sustenance of woodlands importance and functions, the Assemblies have to put in place appropriate measures and interventions to mitigate human induced impacts to woodland degradation by empowering local people in tree resource management”, the Executive Director proposed.

Mr. Akolbila who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga on Wednesday , added that it is important for the District Assemblies as local level development authorities to recognize the important role natural resources play in the country’s socio-economic development, especially in the poorest three northern regions where majority of the people are subsistence crop farmers.

Mr Akolibila regretted that in spite of the well developed environmental management policies developed by the relevant government agencies , they are not effectively implemented hence the numerous challenges facing the environment.

. He stressed the need for Government to mobilize the needed resources and nurture the political will to implement environmental management policies.

The Executive Director of MONAR, said his organization would work with District Assemblies, local communities and other development partners to promote the widespread adoption of FMNR which is the cheapest means of land management and agro-forestry technique to help restore the depletion of the environment in the three northern regions.

He said the benefits of FMNR, which was introduced in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region by World Vision Australia in 2009, are immense and explained that depending on which tree species are present in an area, and what products and services are valued locally, FMNR contributes both wood and non-wood forests products for human consumption.

“Naturally regenerated Trees provide feed for livestock during the dry season and increase crop yields and household incomes. More importantly, “tree-based systems enhance the capacity of households to cope the effects of shocks such as drought and floods. Trees are assets that can be cut and sold for cash in times of need”, he pointed out.

By Samuel Adadi Akapule, Bolgatanga

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