The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has launched an ambitious tree planting project that will see 30 million trees being planted annually.
The Green Ghana Programme seeks to help revegetate Ghana in both urban and rural areas.
Speaking on the project in an interview, the Deputy Minister of MESTI, Dr Alfred Sugri Tia, said the sustainability of the forestry sector was currently being threatened by a myriad of problems.
Some of those problems, he said, included over-exploitation, wild fires, slash and burn agriculture, mining and quarrying, resulting in rapid depletion of forest resources.
Dr Tia said the demand for wood and forest products on the international market, heavy dependence on charcoal and wood for rural and urban energy, limited technology development in farming systems among other needs, had led to the loss of the forest cover.
According to the Deputy Minister, uncontrolled logging, surface mining and high population growth had also brought in its wake challenges of settlement expansion and the need to increase farm sizes.
“The poor and outmoded agricultural practices associated with our farming systems have, therefore, led to large areas of forests being destroyed,” he said.
Dr Tia said the situation had made the country vulnerable to extreme climatic events that could alternatively cause floods.
Working together“Due to the over-exploitation of some of our natural resources to meet legitimate socio-economic needs, extensive damage has been caused to productive lands and the environment through deforestation, air and water pollution, desertification, overgrazing and the destruction of biodiversity,” he observed.
Dr Tia, therefore, stressed the need for Ghanaians and institutions to work together to reduce the causes of climate change, which he said, was reducing crop yields and negatively impacting on livestock production through changes in feed quality and availability, reduced water availability, heat stress and the disruption of hydro energy supplies.
He said the Green Ghana programme would be implemented through stakeholders such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Research Institute of Ghana, the Forestry Commission, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Chieftaincy, the Ministry of Communication, the Ghana National Fire Service and other civil society organisations.