The Abutia Development Union and the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) have jointly kicked against illegal logging of rosewoods in the Kalapa Forest Reserves in the Volta Region because it does not only contribute to deforestation but also undermines the viability of legal harvest and traded timber products.
The Union claimed the illegal logging is in contravention of the laws since the timber is harvested, transported, processed and sold without the relevant authorization.
At a joint press conference both groups express were displeasured at the the felling of rosewoods in the forest reserves.
Policy and Advocacy Officer at the GWS, Faisal Elias, called for the intervention of the government and the law enforcement so as to stop the perpetrators from pursuing the illegal act.
“We therefore call on the Forest Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to investigate the illegal logging activities happening in the forest reserve as a matter of public interest,” he stated.
According to him, evidence gathered so far indicated that there have been massive felling of trees, especially rosewoods, in the forest reserve as well as an onsite sawmill in that prepares the rosewoods for transportation to the International market. He alleged that hundreds of logs are being smuggled to neighboring countries, causing environmental degradation and forming negative perceptions for the timber industry.
He made references to the Forest Protection Act, 1974, Trees and Timber Act, 1974, Resource Management Act, 1998, Timber Resource Management and Licensing Regulation, 2017 and other related registrations governing the forest and Timber sector in the country.
He said harvesting of rosewood in the Kalapa Resource Reserve is a violation of the ban imposed by the government and therefore demands adequate monitoring and surveillance by authorities to save the forest.
“We urge the Forestry Commission to strengthen its surveillance and monitoring mechanism to ensure maximum protection of the forest,” he emphasized.
He again cited the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) signed with the European Union (EU) with the aim of sanitizing the forest sector and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in which Ghana is a signatory.
“By law a wildlife protected area cannot be logged or mined due to the unique occurrences and endemism of flora and fauna of the area.”
The Union claimed if government fails to intervene and enforce the law to put an end to the illegal act, the Abutia community would have no option but resort to the law courts for redress.
Source: Eric Nii Sackey