The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, has called for stronger collaboration among institutions in charge of forest management in West Africa.
He said such partnerships should focus on the implementation of policies to deal with the threats posed by climate change to national economies.
He said the threats transcended national borders and, therefore, required coordinated efforts to deal with them.
The CEO made the call when a delegation from the Edo State Forestry Commission in Nigeria paid a courtesy call on him in Accra yesterday.
The delegation was led by the acting Chairman of the Edo State Forestry Commission, Edward Obiaw.
The Edo State is in the process of developing a forest management plan for the judicious utilisation of forest resources.
The team is, therefore, in the country to understudy the policies and programmes of Ghana’s Forestry Commission to replicate same in Nigeria.
The Edo State team will understudy the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for mapping forests, the development of forest management plans, including ecotourism, and wood tracking mechanisms.
Mr Allotey highlighted a number of initiatives that had been implemented in the country to help restore degraded landscapes.
They included Greening Ghana, the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-scale Mining projects and the Ghana Cocoa REDD+ programme, he said.
He said although the country had taken a bold step towards tackling climate change, the desired impact would not be felt if other countries in the sub-region failed to take action to restore degraded forests.
For instance, Mr Allotey said, Ghana and Nigeria could collaborate in the forestry sector to deal with the trade in Rosewood.
He said although both countries had banned the harvesting and exportation of Rosewood, it was important to look at sustainable ways of managing the timber species.
He also said the increasing risk of terrorist activities in the sub-region required forest managers to work together to ensure safety in their respective forests.
The Ghana model
For his part, Mr Obiaw said the Edo State was seeking to build its forest management plan around the Ghanaian model.
He said the Nigerian team would, therefore, be more interested in the GIS mapping technology, the electronic wood tracking system and ecotourism development.
According to him, Edo State had about 48 forest reserves, covering an area of 500,000 hectares, most of which had been encroached upon due to institutional weaknesses.