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40 tree species risk extinction due to illegal mining – CSIR-FORIG warns

About 40 tree species are getting extinct from the country’s forests due to illegal mining, illegal logging, agriculture, fuelwood collection, and forest fires.

Among them are Mahogany, Odum, Afrormosia, Pericopsis elata,Talbotiella gentii,  Pericopsis elata and Talbotieralla gentii.

At an emergency meeting of the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-FORIG), yesterday, the Director General of the CSIR, Prof. Paul Bosu, expressed worry that if care was not taken Ghana’s forests could be completely wiped off.

“In the not-too-distant future, we could lose all these threatened species in the forests”, he bemoaned.

Given the importance of the species and the increasing threats to their existence, he said, there was a critical need to create awareness of them whilst ensuring sustainable use of the resources.

The ‘National-Level Threatened Trees Conservation Planning’ meeting, brought scientists and NGOs from Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Ghana to the CSIR-FORIG to brainstorm on the way forward to ensure the protection and management of the tree species for the betterment of Ghana’s biodiversity.

It was under the sponsorship of Fondation Franklinia, an NGO  in Switzerland, which is into the prevention of the human-induced extinction of trees.

According to Prof. Bosu the talk about food insecurity, climate change, prevention and management of COVID-19, Ebola, and monkeypox, among others, all boiled down to biodiversity “and we owe it to ourselves to protect it”.

“As scientists,” he said, “our work must be on the delivery of quality science and development of sustainable management practices and approaches that are deployed to the public and we need to do a lot more”.

Prof. Daniel A. Ofori, Director, CSIR-FORIG, noted that if the two percent rate of forest loss should continue Ghana might lose all its forest resources.

He said water was being sustained by the forests and that failure to conserve them could mean a lot of the human race would be wiped off because “we need biodiversity to protect the land, soil fertility to provide food, wildlife to give meat for protein”.

Mr. Olivier Hasinger, Grant Manager, Fondation Franklinia, told the Ghanaian Times in an interview that the Foundation had supported CSIR-FORIG and the Institute of Nature and Environmental Conservation(INEC Ghana) to plant about 97,000 pericopsis elata seedlings and 50,000 Talbotierlla gentii in the forest reserves since 2020.

He noted that Talbotierlla gentii was much appreciated by many local people in Ghana because the species are very good for charcoal production and “that has created a decline in the population of the species”.

“We are supporting Ghana Wildlife Society together with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to save the species basically to plant those trees to restore the forest with those threatened trees”.

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