Govts must be committed to land usage – Foster Mensah

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West African governments have been advised to show political will in the fight against deforestation and put measures in place to prevent misuse of lands.

According to the Executive Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services, at the University of Ghana, Foster Mensah, his organisation, with support from USAID, would begin engaging stakeholders in Ghana to sensitise them on deforestation.

He said “for the next 10 years or 15 years, if we do not manage what we have, we will still be depleting and extending.”

Mensah said this in an interview with The Finder at the closing ceremony of a two-day workshop held to disseminate information on how to utilise an Atlas on Land Cover and Land Use, developed by the USAID, and its partners for West African countries.

The Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Atlas, is an advocacy tool that aims to provide to both decision-makers and citizens clear information that enables them to fully understand the evolving trends in land use over the long term.

It is also meant to let stakeholders be aware of the challenges and consequences of the changes and transformations while encouraging the adherence of the decision-makers to the strategies and measures that will be taken and a strong political commitment to reverse these trends.

The document, put together by USAID and its partners – titled ‘Landscapes of West Africa: A Window on a Changing World’, showed the expansion of agricultural land was one of the most obvious land cover changes in Ghana.
From 1975 to 2000, agricultural lands expanded from 13 per cent to 28 per cent of Ghana’s total area, and continued rapidly, reaching 32 per cent of land area in 2013.

Forest degradation showed a slight decline in area from about 1,400 square (sq) kilometres (km) in 1975 to 15,500 sq km in 2000.

It, however, accelerated sharply between 2000 and 2013, with forests reducing by an additional 20 per cent in 2013.

Source: Kenneth O. ADADE || The Finder

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