Over 1, 000 trees have been planted in the Atiwa Forest at Segyimase in the Abuakwa South Municipality to replace the lost trees in the forest as a result of the illegal clearing of land for farming and other human activities.
The replacement of the lost trees called ‘enrichment planting’ with more tree species would help increase the integrity of the forest to attract animals like monkeys back into the forest reserve at Segyimase
The trees were planted by the Kyebi District Ghana Forestry Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Okyeman Environment Foundation during the second edition of the Green Ghana Day project.
Mr Emmanuel Antwi, Manager Kyebi District Forestry Commission said this year, a portion of the 150,000 trees allocated to the district would be planted in the forest reserve at Segyimase.
“We are planting trees in the forest reserves so that if per adventure, the trees planted on people’s farms, school lands and other places are destroyed, we will have compensation for them in the forest,” he explained.
Mr Antwi noted that tree seedlings, which were freely distributed to residents in the district would be monitored to ensure that all the trees had been planted and were growing well.
He revealed that the prospecting permit given to the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) to assess the possibility of exploring bauxite deposits in the Atewa forest has expired since last year May and has not been renewed.
“I am managing my forest reserve and currently planting more species of trees such as Mahogany, Ofram, Emire and Cassia to improve the integrity of the forest,” he stated.
Dr Eugene Owusu, Special Advisor to the President of Ghana on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) said though the government had shown intentions of bauxite extraction in the Atewa Forest, the process must be done without destroying the forest.
“It cannot be done at the cost of the decimation of our forest. If we don’t succeed in protecting this planet then, we don’t stand a chance of achieving the SDGs,” he noted.
Dr Angela Lusigi, the UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, noted that her outfit was working with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) to address the root cause of deforestation.
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, Okyenhene and founder of the Okyeman Environment Foundation said there was the need to educate the younger generation on the importance of planting trees to protect the lives of the generation to come.
Green Ghana was instituted by the government last year under the auspices of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources as part of an aggressive afforestation and deforestation agenda to restore the lost forest cover of the country.