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Project Coordinator of Tropenbos Ghana, Mr. Boakye Twumasi-Ankra, has warned against the encroachment on forest reserves, especially for mining and cocoa expansion programmes.
Speaking in an interview after a media sensitization programme on Forest and Mining Laws in Accra, Mr. Twumasi-Ankra cited the cocoa expansion programme in Juaboso-Bia landscape area in the Western Region, where serious encroachment is taking place in forest reserves, as a serious environmental problem.
“We are not against the cocoa expansion programme in any way, but that cannot be done at the expense of our forests that help protect our environment,” he pointed out.
He also admonished government against allocating forest reserves for mining activities, disclosing that the damage caused by such works in the past is a contributory factor to the depletion of Ghana’s forest cover.
From 1990-2010, Ghana lost 33,7% of its forest reserves to illegal logging and other human activities and the alarming rate of depletion is raising serious concerns among environmental activists and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
He called on government to review its stance on allowing mining in the Atiwa Forest, considering the importance of the reserve to the livelihood of humans and biodiversity.
“Atiwa Forest is the source of three rivers, Densu, Ayensu and Birim, thus the need to protect it from any activity that could put these rivers at risk,” he stated.
He advised government to consider the environment above temporary economic considerations that leave behind more problems for the people to contend with.
The programme was organized by Tropenbos Ghana under the Green Livelihoods Alliance Programme with funds from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Dutch Embassy in Ghana.
Implementation partners in Ghana are A Rocha Ghana and Friends of the Earth Ghana.