Building a sustainable forest monitoring system for the Takoradi district project has been launched in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis by Hen Mpoano (a nonprofit-making organisation).
The project, funded by the Global Forest Watch (GFW) Small Grant Fund, is meant to build the forest monitoring capacity of communities and forest managers to reduce deforestation in the Takoradi Forest District, through enhanced community-based monitoring and effective enforcement of forest protection regulation.
Also, the project seeks to facilitate the adoption of spatial monitoring systems by the communities and law enforcement agencies for long-term protection of the forest reserves.
Again, it is to produce and disseminate spatial data useful for informing rapid enforcement actions.
The Takoradi Forest District of the Western Region boasts two major forest reserves: the Cape Three Point Forest Reserve and the Subri River Forest Reserve.
Despite their high biological diversity, the ecological integrity of these reserves is increasingly threatened by human activities. The recent habitat destruction through illegal mining and indiscriminate lumbering in the reserves have heightened concerns over the exploitation rate.
Mr. Justice Camillus Mensah, Project Coordinator, explained that: “It is expected that through this project deforestation in Cape Three Points and Subri Forest Reserves will be reduced by 10% by August 2022.
“Local communities will have improved capacity to deploy GFW and spatial monitoring tools as a foundation for enhanced monitoring of human activities within the forest reserve. And state forest law enforcement agencies have increased capacities to utilise spatial data for enforcement action,” he said.
Mr. Stephen Kankam, Deputy Director at Hen Mpoano, noted that Cape Three Points is the only site and forest with so much diversity and should be conserved.
He mentioned that despite this high biodiversity, the ecological integrity of the country’s reserves are increasingly threatened by human activities through habitat destruction, illegal mining activities as well as indiscriminate lumbering in the forests.
He pointed out that the exploration for oil and gas in the Western Region has magnified pressure on the land, and leads to infrastructural expansion that is affecting the forest reserves.
Enoch Amasa Ashie, Western Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission (Wildlife Division), added that: “With the new Wildlife bill that will be passed into an Act, it will streamline the process with general conservation issues.
“We also have a role for conservation education and radio programmes from time to time, as well as visits to the communities,” he said.
Also, he said: “We have over-exploited what we have as reserves, and we must do enforcement with the police to ensure sanity”.
Nana Bozza IX, Divisional Chief of Ahanta-Akatakyi, also called for education on conservation of the reserves.
“We urge them to liaise with the traditional rulers to support in the intensification of education for community members on the need to conserve the forest to make an impact,” he added.