Forests keep us alive; let’s protect them

Forests keep us alive; let’s protect them

From 2002 to 2022, Ghana lost 130,000 hectares (ha) of humid primary forest, making up 8.7 per cent of its total tree cover loss in the same period.


The total area of humid primary forest in Ghana decreased by 12 per cent in the period.

While in 2010 Ghana had seven million hectares of natural forest extending over 30 per cent of its land area, in 2022, it lost 118,000 ha of natural forest, equivalent to 78 tonnes of CO₂ emissions.

The annual loss of our forest cover demands that we put in all efforts, including employing technology, to monitor and keep what we have left, to arrest the trend and sustain human life.

Many of our rivers originate from our forests, which are also the habitat of plant and animal species, some of them unique to the country.

 It means as we destroy the forests we do not only destroy our plant species, but we dry up our water sources and also destroy the habitats of animals living in the wild.

The danger here is that we may drive the fauna to extinction, destroy the entire ecosystem, make worse the impact of climate change on the country by weakening the forests’ ability to act as carbon sink, hasten desertification as we encourage deforestation and thus alter beautiful landscapes, among a host of other environmental impacts that will not augur well for the sustenance of human life.

Thankfully, there are now innovations and technology which have improved forest monitoring, enabling countries such as Ghana to track and report on their forests more effectively.

According to the United Nations, a total of 13.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, forest emission reductions or enhancements have been reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), through transparent and innovative forest monitoring.

The choice of theme for International Day of Forests 2024 being marked today: “Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World,” is therefore apt and welcome news.

As greed emboldens some citizens to carry out nefarious activities such as illegal logging and galamsey, which lead to the destruction of large swathes of our forests, agencies and organisations tasked to protect our forests must also be well resourced technologically to monitor such activities, so we are able to effectively protect and preserve our forests.

Also, innovation is allowing mankind to use trees in ways never imagined possible.

Materials derived from forests and trees are being developed as sustainable substitutes for plastics, building materials, fabrics, medicines and many other everyday items. 

At the same time, rapidly evolving drone and satellite technology is helping monitor and manage forests, detect and fight fires and safeguard ecosystems.

Indeed, we couldn’t agree more with the United Nations that the battle against deforestation requires new technological advancements.

“With 10 million hectares lost annually due to deforestation and approximately 70 million hectares affected by fires, these innovations are essential for early warning systems, sustainable commodity production, and empowering indigenous peoples through land mapping and climate finance access.”

The world’s forests are home to 80 per cent of all known amphibian species, with more than 30 per cent of new diseases reported since 1960 attributed to land use change, including deforestation.

They also contain over half the global carbon stock in soils and vegetation, while an area roughly the equivalent of 14 million football pitches, is lost per year to deforestation.

Insect pests also damage around 35 million hectares of forest annually, while forested watersheds and wetlands provide 75 per cent of the world´s accessible freshwater.

Despite a slowdown in deforestation rates, over 420 million hectares of forest have vanished since 1990.


This calls for urgent, effective and innovative ways to save the world’s forests.

It is to tackle these challenges that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Kingdom have jointly launched AIM4Forests, a five-year programme that aims to enhance forest monitoring through modern technologies, technical innovation, and the utilisation of space data and remote sensing.

The Daily Graphic thinks that the country needs to emulate this to save its dwindling forests, restore the ecosystem which we all depend on, as well as the forests for generations unborn.

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