Reduction in workforce affecting rehabilitation works on Pamu-Berekum forest reserve

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Mr. Amoah in white top (right) and two other staff of FSD standing by maturing mahogany tree planted on the GGD last year
Mr. Amoah in white top (right) and two other staff of FSD standing by maturing mahogany tree planted on the GGD last year

Mr Felix Amoah, Assistant Manager, Dormaa District Forestry Services Division (FSD), has said reduction in workforce was affecting work output and rehabilitation measures of the Pamu-Berekum forest reserve at Dormaa-Akwamu.

Mr Amoah was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the District’s observance of the Green Ghana Day (GGD) at Dormaa-Akwamu, the Dormaa East District capital of the Bono Region.

He said out of the 100 Youth Employment Agency (YEA) recruits who were engaged on the field, 29 of them were presently active in service, performing various tasks such as filling poly holes, nursing seedlings, nurturing seeds to planting size, preparing sites, pegging and tending them, with supervisors present to regularly monitor and assign specific tasks.

Responding to a question about the non-payment of allowance of the YEA personnel and how that had affected work output in the reserve, Mr. Amoah explained many of the personnel had left.

He disclosed the FSD had purchased food stuffs such as bags of rice and cooking oil, coupled with the payment of the medical bills to motivate those who were still in the Service, assuring that “issue about when their allowance would be released would be addressed by the government”.

Mr Amoah explained local farmers were being engaged as well in forest rehabilitation through replanting exercise under the Modified Taungya System (MTS) where farmers planted trees for Forestry Commission (FC), interspersed with food crop for themselves.

“The MTS is a management practice whereby degraded forests are cleared, food crops planted with timber trees and managed by farmers with FSD supervision,” he explained., adding
proceeds of the MTS was disbursed with 40 per cent to the FC, another 40 per cent to the farmers, 15 per cent to the stool lands and five per cent to the fringe communities.

Mr Amoah admitted managing the reserve’s rehabilitation together with the activities of local farmers had been complex and sometimes created enmity between the farmers and the FSD staff.

He stated the Pamu-Berekum Forest Reserve was very rich with indigenous tree species such as odum, mahogany, wawa, edina, ofram, chenchen and others but the forest reserve was severely degraded due to proximate and underlying factors such as rampant bushfire, indiscriminate tree harvesting, agricultural expansion, population trends and cultural practices.

Mr Amoah added the forest reserve needed to be rehabilitated by introducing fast growing species like teak, gmelina and cedrela, noting the current administration was making effort to introduce the indigenous species by encouraging farmers to undertake forest management practices such as MTS and commercial private plantation development.

He appealed to the fringe communities to assist the FSD to restore the forest reserve, saying
that could be achieved “if we changed our mindset by owing the trees and stop the practices of killing the trees already planted alongside food crops which is usually done with chemical application by the local farmers”.

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