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RECLAIMING OUR LOST FOREST

Timby Community Forest Monitoring Project
Published : 12 September, 2019

Mr. Yaw Boateng Asante the Assistant District Manager of the Forest Services Division (FSD) in the Juaboso District of Ghana’s Western North Region assured Friends of the Earth-Ghana (FoE-Ghana) and the Community Forest Monitors that his outfit will very soon embark on an exercise to destroy all illegal farms from within the Bia North Reserve. This pronouncement was made during a one-day interactive meeting in Juaboso during which the community monitors presented evidence of illegal farming in the forest reserve. Mr. Yaw Boateng complained about challenges his outfit faces in combating the illegalities in the reserved forest. Besides the problem of political interference in implementing Ghana’s forest laws, he said the communities have resorted to farming very deep in the reserve making them difficult to locate. Also, insufficient logistics and patrol teams make the work to completely stop illegal farming in the reserve even more challenging. Of all the factors driving deforestation in the country, agriculture is the number one, with cocoa cultivation the single leading crop causing forest destruction in Ghana. Communities sometimes take advantage of logging activities that open up the forest making it easier for farmers to gain access. He emphasized that the collaboration between FoE-Ghana and FSD couldn’t have come at a better time as evidence of illegal farming in the forest reserve was presented to him. The evidence was obtained by the community monitors who received training through FoE-Ghana’s community project called “Timby Community Forest Monitors”.