The Newmont Golden Ridge Limited, in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region, is expected to transfer the first phase of its reforestation project – a 60-hectare (ha) fully cultivated forest plantation to the Forestry Commission next year.
The reforestation project at Ajenua Bepo and Mamang Production Forest Reserves, which commenced in 2014, contains economic trees made up of some 30 indigenous multiple species and Cedrela nurtured from over 60,000 seedlings.
The first phase of the forest plantation initiative is part of the commitment of the mine to develop a total of some 303,637 trees, on a land size of 303 ha based on its total land take area of 101ha, for mining operations.
This follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Newmont Golden Ridge Limited with the Forestry Commission to revegetate and maintain three times its land take, 303 ha as mitigation for impacting the 101 ha.
Despite this, the company has currently reforested 317 hectares, which is more than the commitment made and mandated to maintain the reforested areas for 10 years each.
Reforestation and Biodiversity Officer of Newmont, Larry Aning-Dei, said the company deployed different planting designs and assisted natural regeneration – Ms 312, MS 48, and enrichment planting – to make the plantation unique.
“We followed the management plan which was developed by the Forestry Service Division to guide us with the implementation,” he added.
The species composition, he also observed, prescribed in the management plan from the Forestry Service Division was followed to implement the reforestation project.
Mr. Aning-Dea, who was speaking in an interview with B&FT at a tour of the plantation organised by the company, said at the moment they have been doing maintenance.
He explained that because all the trees are of economic value, the civil-cultural practices employed are to ensure that the state will maximise profit when need be.
While the first phase is ready to be handed over to the state, phase 2 of the reforestation intervention – a 257-hectare cultivated forest in the Kweikaro Production Forest Reserves – will be transferred latest by 2027.
This project, which also began in September 2016, is made up of various tree species – including Wawa, Ofram, Emire, Ceiba, Mahogany, Kusia and Cedrela – and were nurtured from 243,628 seedlings.
These interventions by the mine to re-cultivate degraded lands into forests will also help position the country to meet its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 15.
SDG 15 stresses the need to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
Forests have a significant role in reducing the risk of natural disasters, including floods, droughts, landslides and other extreme events. At the global level, forests mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air, and protect watersheds, which supply 75 percent of freshwater worldwide.
Investing in forests and forestry represent an investment in people and their livelihoods, especially the rural poor, youth and women. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80 percent of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.
Therefore, the future of forests and forestry in sustainable development at all levels was at the core of the XIV World Forestry, hosted in Durban from 7th to 11th September, 2015.