Stop planting exotic trees in native forests – CSO

As Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark International Day of Forests, civil society organization (CSO), A Rocha Ghana, has called for the country to focus on planting the right trees at the right places. 

Touching on this year’s theme “Forest restoration: A path to recovery and well-being”, the environmental CSO which advocates the preservation of Ghana’s forest reserves, said the country must do more to protect nature.

It said, despite numerous institutional mechanisms and funding support the sector has witnessed, forest loss is increasingly becoming alarming.

It cited the planting of exotic trees in native forests as an example of some of the activities harming local biodiversity.

The Deputy National Director for A Rocha Ghana, Daryl Bosu, told theghanareport.com that the need to plant trees have now been reduced to planting exotic timbers for commercial purposes, a situation he described as worrying.

“What is increasingly happening is that, we are not growing depleted forests with native trees, but we are seeing a trend where degraded native forests are being given to private actors to develop commercial timber plantations and most of them use exotic species.

“The need to plant trees is being interpreted and practiced as though any tree will do. The golden rule of restoration is to ensure you plant native trees in degraded areas, not exotics because the native species support local biodiversity. We have planted certain trees in places like national parks and they have become invasive species. The spread of teak and Neem in certain forests and protected areas in Ghana is an example,” Mr. Bosu told theghanareport.com.

The State of the Environment Report 2016 by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as the World Bank Country Environmental Analysis (CEA) Report of April 2020, identify forest loss as presenting a tremendous risk to Ghana’s development.

To reverse this worrying trend, A Rocha Ghana said there must be an end to planting exotic trees in native forests.

“We definitely must plant more trees to restore our depleted forests and also contribute to climate mitigation and building community resilience. We however reiterate the need to ensure that all tree planting activities across the country must ensure that we plant the right trees at the right place,” Mr. Bosu stated.

“Our extractive economy policy pathway is not sustainable and needs to give way to recovery and sustainable development pathways that secures forests and the ecosystem services they provide, further promoting wellbeing and development in harmony with nature. There is a global paradigm shift to green developments pathways that places emphasis on nature-based solutions that secures forests and enhances natures gifts, goods and services.

“We have said all the good things about staying true to SDGs 13 and 15 but we are yet to see dedicated actions to that effect. Let that action start with excluding Atewa Forest from Ghana’s Integrated Aluminium Development program. Atewa Forest is give much more than bauxite,” he added.

The day which is celebrated annually on March 21 seeks to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests for the benefit of current and future generations.


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