Illegal chainsaw operation poses threat to forest reserve

Forest guards of the Forestry Commission (FC) have arrested some illegal chainsaw operators with 122 pieces of lumber and the culprits would be prosecuted.
The Western Regional Manager of the Forestry Services Division (FSD), Mrs. Lydia Opoku, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview at Agona Nkwanta that the seized lumbers are in the custody of the FSD regional office in Takoradi,

She said the seized lumbers are Mahogany and Kusia species which are restricted from felling unless permitted by the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission.

She said the 51.12 kilometre square forest reserve is one of the globally significant biodiversity areas with different species of mammals, birds, butterflies, trees, flowers and there was the need for absolute protection from encroachment.

Mrs. Opoku said with the exploration of oil and gas close to the area, individuals and companies are in mad-rush for land hence the FSD, the Ahanta West District Assembly, Coastal Resources Centre, an NGO concerned with environmental issues, and fringe communities are collaborating to provide security for the reserve.
She said 150 community members have been trained to form the Cape-Three-Points Monitoring Group to provide security at the forest reserve.
The District Chief Executive for the area, Mr. Joseph Dofoyenah, told the GNA that the Assembly had allocated GHc15, 000 in this year’s district budget towards effective and efficient monitoring of the forest reserve.

He, however, expressed worry over interference by some politicians in the district upon arrest of illegal chainsaw operators and asked them to desist from it.

Mr. Dofoyenah said there had been times when delegation of political party executives came to me pleading for release of illegal chainsaw operators and deviants.

He said such practices retarded development because it makes it difficult to enforce Assembly bye-laws and it is high time society condemns wrongs and shame evil doers.

He appealed to all stakeholders in the district to work together towards protecting the natural resources from destruction adding “Posterity will not forgive us if we allow unpatriotic and selfish individuals to destroy the forest reserve”. GNA

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