The urgency to protect and conserve existing forests and restore degraded and deforested lands is now felt by many in Africa and across the globe.
It is for this reason that a forest restoration program under way near Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest commercial city, some 270 km north of the capital, assumes crucial importance to provide vital environmental services.
During the COP 21 in Paris, France, an ambitious initiative christened the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative was launched to restore 100 million hectares of forests across Africa by 2030.
This initiative builds on the new Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly SDG 15, and supports the New York Declaration on Forests, which aims to end natural forest loss globally by 2030, and to restore 350 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands over the period.
In Ghana each day never passes without more forests being cleared, driven by multiple activities, from agriculture, infrastructure development to the growing demand for wood and forest products, often made worse by illegal logging.
Xinhua reporters visited the teak plantation forestry by FORM GHANA, a forest management and services company in Ghana.
Here, the plantation is bringing back new forests on a vast expanse of land, both for domestic and international consumption.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan during the recent Forest for the Futures conference in Accra, urged an integrated approach for the restoration of forests.
According to him, forest protection has to go hand-in-hand with forest restoration and reforestation in Africa which has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent in the world – an area nearly the size of Australia.
Paul Hol, founder of FORM International, said the cost of deforestation for the world was enormous and so must be reversed through conscious efforts by the whole world.
He told Xinhua that forests and new forests and replanting degraded lands in Africa was fundamental for Climate Change mitigation, adding that it was the biggest and most cost-effective impact to mitigate climate change.
FORM Ghana has 20,000 hectares-land allocated in Ghana, with 10,000 already cultivated with mostly teak trees and other local varieties.
The company is harvesting its first batch of wood products from the plantation which started in 2001.
Hol said there was a tremendous need in Ghana and in Africa for fuel woods for timber, adding that 80 percent of the deforestation in Africa was mainly because people needed fuel woods.
“And what we try to do here is bringing back new forests which can provide the energy, the fuel, the timber for the local market; for the export market; and in that way we grow new forests.” Enditem