Illegal logging on-going in the Bia Tributaries North Forest Reserve
Illegal operators on rampage in the forest near Kankyiabo and nearby communities.Published : November 30, 2022 | Updated: May 30, 2022
Illegal logging has severe negative environmental, economic and social implications. It often leads to forest degradation or outright deforestation, thus reducing forest related environmental services and biodiversity. A Mongabay investigation in Ghana revealed that illegal logging in forest reserves is commonplace (https://news.mongabay.com/2019/08/we-have-cut-them-all-ghana-struggles-to-protect-its-last-old-growth-forests/). The prevalence of illegal logging activities could be attributed to weak enforcement and inaction by the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission, low penalties, lack of knowledge of Ghana’s forest laws on the part of local communities and also the inability of forest communities to back reported forest illegalities with enough evidence, etc. As a result of these, and many other reasons, Friends of the Earth Ghana has been working closely with selected local communities in the Bia West District of the Western North Region to help monitor forest activities in their localities and report them for the necessary actions/remedy to be undertaken by the appropriate authorities. Evidence gathered on the ground through local community participation in forest monitoring, suggests that illegal felling of trees is very much on the rise in some portions of the Bia Tributaries North Forest Reserve, more especially in the area around the Kankyiabo and nearby communities. This has become a great source of worry for local community members who are committed to helping in the protection of the forest resource, but look on helplessly whilst the forest is being destroyed with impunity.
In the year 2021, under the leadership of the President of Ghana, the Green Ghana Project was launched as part of an aggressive afforestation/reforestation programme to restore the lost forest cover of Ghana and also to contribute to the global effort to fight climate change. During the maiden edition, 7 million tree seedlings were planted for an initial target of 5 million. Whilst we commend the President for taking this bold initiative, which in no doubt will contribute to increased forest cover in Ghana, it is worth noting that the continual protection of forest reserves, which provides several important functions to the country cannot be ignored.
We are therefore calling on the Forest Services Division to ensure that:
1. the illegal logging activities on-going in the Bia Tributaries North Forest Reserve, more especially around the Kankyiabo and nearby local communities are halted immediately.
2. there is increased forest monitoring and patrols in the Bia West District to help curb illegal activities so as to prevent further forest cover loss.