By Benjamin Akoto
Sunyani, Jan. 11, GNA – Most Reverend Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, the Catholic Bishop of Sunyani has underscored the need for the country to formulate and implement a ‘don’t cut, don’t burn’ policy for total national reforestation through the Green Ghana Project (GGP).
He said, the time has come for the government through the Forestry Commission (FC) and all recognised groups, both public and private to educate and saturate the minds of Ghanaians against bushfires and engaging in activities which can cause deforestation.
“Otherwise the work done in the past years and what’s being done now such as the GGP to reforest the country would not yield any results”, the Bishop stated.
The Bishop hoped “if the citizens adhered to the call, in the next three to four years some of the trees would have been maturing and big enough, so that even if there was a bush fire, its effect would be less”.
Most Rev.Gyamfi made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani as a contribution to efforts by the government to achieve a successful GGP.
He said in Ghana one needed not to plant trees because there were seeds readily available in the soil, implying that if there were no bushfires and it rains, the seeds would naturally germinate and within a few years there would be trees everywhere.
Most Rev. Gyamfi cited Germans had adopted a scientific and sustainable way of cutting down trees for infrastructure development and other purposes, saying that had not caused reduction of the nation’s vegetation cover because trees were cut responsibly and sustainably while some forest reserves were declared no entry zones.
He said there was the need for the Forestry Services Division (FSD) of the FC to have a definite plan for reforestation and quizzed “if trees are cut and there is no succession plan to replace them, how can the vegetation cover be restored”?
“Irresponsible and continuous indiscriminate cutting of trees without planting will result in deforestation”, the bishop said.
Most Rev. Gyamfi called for a conscious effort not only by the FC and its associated organisations like the FSD but all Ghanaians to ensure the success of the GGP.
“The tree seedlings provided by the government and other organisations for planting on the GGP day must be nurtured and protected, but how is that being done and who follows up to ensure that the trees are doing well”, he quizzed.
Most Rev. Gyamfi said the policy of national reforestation borders on patriotism, saying “without that our efforts in greening Ghana will be fruitless”.
“Let us as citizens be nationalistic by doing the right thing through the planting and protection of tree seedlings for Ghana to have abundant forest cover in the medium to long term to save our environment”, he said..