The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and Forestry Commission in collaboration with other stakeholders will join the world to celebrate the International Day of Forests on March 21. It is a day set aside since 2012 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests and trees outside forests.
The UN however, allows member states to adapt the date of the celebration of the International Day of Forests to suit their peculiar national circumstances. In view of this, Ghana chooses the month of May every year for the celebration of the Day to coincide with the major rainy and planting season to ensure greater survival of the planted sedlings.
The week-long programme will be dedicated to tree planting and promoting awareness on the importance of forests and trees in our lives. This year’s celebration will be observed from 20th – 26th May, 2017, under the theme “Forests and Energy: Implications for Ghana”.
It is on record that about 70 percent of Ghanaians depend on wood fuel for their household energy needs and as a major source of livelihood. The annual consumption of wood fuel is estimated at 16 million m3. Wood fuel is a very important energy source for households and its use is dominant in rural households who depend on it for cooking and for small-scale processing activities.
In spite of the many benefits derived from the forest, the forest and wildlife resources of Ghana continue to face serious threats of degradation due to factors such as illegal logging, illegal mining (Galamsey), unsustainable farming practices, rampant wildfires, poaching, charcoal burning, collection of fuelwood in commercial quantities, among others.
The results of these are severe climate change impacts that have resulted in the drying up of many water bodies; depletion of prime timber species like “odum”, “mahogany”, “asanfina”, “sapele”; destruction of wildlife habitats; loss of soil fertility and low agricultural productivity, among others.
Major interventions being pursued to address these challenges include policy and legislative reforms, law enforcement, restoration of degraded landscapes through the National Forest Plantations Development Programme and promotion of woodlots establishment, implementation of the Forest Investment Programme (FIP), Sustainable Land and Water Management Project, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and the proposed Multi-Lateral Mining Integrated Project targeted at illegal mining activities across the country.
The choice of the theme for the celebration is therefore, to provide the opportunity to educate the general public on the tremendous potential of forests as renewable energy sources.
Activities earmarked for the week-long celebration are:
a. Inter-schools quiz competition on Forests and Energy: The Implications for Ghana on 20th May, 2017.
b. Launch of 6th Forestry Week & Greening Ghana Day Celebration 2017 on 23rd May, 2017.
c. Community Durbar on Forests and Energy: The Implications for Ghana on 24th May, 2017.
The general public is kindly invited to join in the celebration of this important event as it is our collective responsibility to sustain our forests and to ensure a constant supply of renewable energy for the present and future generations.
Issued by Forestry Commission