Tamale – The Northern Region has so far planted over 5,197 hectares of trees across the various districts to improve the vegetation since 2010, by the Forestry Commission.
The exercise forms part of a nationwide project, under the aforestation programme of the government aimed at regaining the lost vegetation.
Some of the over 5,000 trees being planted include cassia, mahogani, teak, nim, senya, mangoes and cotton.
This year 2,137 people had been employed to take care of the trees to ensure that they were not left to wither prematurely.
Mr. Emmanuel Djagbletey, Northern Regional Forestry Manager disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tamale, on Tuesday.
He said the five year aforestation project, which was started in 2010 by the government, intends to create jobs for the people, forestall the eminent wood shortage and produce food to produce raw materials to feed industries as well as tackle the emerging incidence of climate change.
He said because of the closeness of the region to the desert and the fragile ecosystem in the area, there was the need to conserve the vegetation and appealed to non-governmental organizations and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to ensure that the dream of a green savannah was achieved.
Mr. Djagbletey expressed worry that the frail forest in the area was being fast depleted by illegal chainsaw operators, who have gained notoriety in cutting down paopao, senya, mahogany and rosewood trees for timber, a development he described as troubling.
He said the Forestry Commission in the region lacked adequate logistics and personnel to handle the situation, noting that, only 21 technical officers and 62 forestry guards have been protecting the forest reserves of the region in the five forest districts of Yendi, Walewale, Damango, Bole and Tamale.
Mr. Djagbletey noted that the depleting rate of the country’s forest at 750 metres square per hectare per annum was alarming, and that conserving the vegetation must be paramount to every Ghanaian.
He said the forest plays significant a role in improving soil nutrient contents, provides oxygen for the survival of humans and reduces the rate of global warming, which gives rise to climate change.
He noted that despite numerous contributions from various sectors of the economy to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, the forest sector remains the fourth income earner of the country through timber and questioned why some forest reserves in the country should become a subject of political debate.
Mr. Djagbletey appealed to the general public to plant trees around their homes and ensure that they take good care of them. GNA