A district stakeholders dialogue has been held at Nkawie to help tackle illegal chainsaw operations in the area.

It formed part of the drive to promote efficient and sustainable management of the forest and its resources.

The meeting brought together foresters, chiefs, assembly members, saw millers and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Mrs Jane Aggrey, an Assistant Communication Officer of Tropenbos International, a forestry-based NGO and organizers of the programme, said it was important for all to join in the campaign to stop the degradation.

There was also the need to provide an appropriate framework to develop and regulate the domestic timber market, he said.

Measures over the years to rein in illegal chainsaw operators, she noted, had largely remained unsuccessful because of the increasing demand for wood on the domestic market, inequitable timber revenue sharing arrangement and weak capacity of the regulatory agencies to enforce the law.

Additionally, she said, were the unattractive domestic prices ? a disincentive to sawmills to supply lumber to meet the demand gap.

Mr Emmanuel Fosu, Project Assistant of the NGO, said deliberate efforts should be made to encourage people in the forest fringe communities and farmers to show more interest and enthusiasm in safeguarding the timber, especially in the off-reserve areas.

Alternative livelihood programmes, public education and awareness creation must also be stepped up, he added.

Source: GNA

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