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Forestry C’ssion to monitor forests with drones

BY: Prince Acquah
Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie briefing journalists at the conference. To his right is Mr John Allotey. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie briefing journalists at the conference. To his right is Mr John Allotey. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

The Forestry Commission is considering the use of drones to aid the fight against illegal forest activities and guard against possible consequences on the climate.

The commission has indicated that the perpetrators of forest crime have become more sophisticated and complex in their activities and it has, therefore, become necessary for the commission to leverage on technology to counter the situation.  

Speaking in Accra last Thursday at the launch of the International Day of Forests, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, said the drones had become necessary to easily access the forests, move over a larger area in a short period of time and reconcile information in real time.

“It is an area which we have identified that if we invest in, it is going to be helpful.

 We have our staff undergoing intensive training, while we are collaborating with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to source for funding to procure the drones,” he said.

International Day of Forests

Although the day is observed globally on March 21 every year to raise awareness of the importance of all sorts of trees and woodlands, Ghana will commemorate it together with the eighth Forestry Week and Greening Ghana Day, which is scheduled to take place in the capital of the Ahafo Region, Sunyani, from June 10 to June 14.

This year’s celebration has been dubbed “Forest and Education, Our Responsibility,” and it is focusing on the role of trees in mitigating the impact of climate change and the positive effect of urban green spaces, among other subjects.

Mr Owusu-Afriyie explained that “the drones will not replace human beings but will rather complement their efforts.

 If we talk of issues like bush fires and other disasters, some of them will be seen in real time even before our men get there and this will prevent the situation from getting out of hand.”

Achievements

Mr Owusu-Afriyie said the Commission had made lots of progress through its Youth in Afforestation Programme despite being faced with almost daily challenges in deforestation, illegal logging and bush burning, among others.

“We have been able to plant 10 million trees to cover 250,000 hectares from last year although we did not start early.

 This year, we are going to start as early as possible to go beyond this achievement, and we will extend it to schools,” he said.

He appealed to the public to take keen interest in the planting of trees to protect their communities and the country at large.

Advice

The Deputy CEO of the commission, Mr John Allotey, talked about the negative impact of forest destruction on human existence and urged perpetrators to desist from the act.

“What you can do to help the work of the Commission is to report these wrongdoers so that they will be brought to book to deter others from engaging in same,” he said.