Minister of Lands and Natural Resources reiterates govt’s commitment to preserve the country’s vegetative cover

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The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor has reiterated government’s commitment to preserve and protect the nation’s forest cover.

The Minister said the government has employed a two-pronged approach to clamp down on illegal mining activities that is degrading the integrity of the vegetative cover across the country.

He said that the Ministry of Lands, through programs like the Green Ghana Project, the Forest Plantation Strategy, and other projects, had started an aggressive reforestation and afforestation effort.

Since the start of the Green Ghana project three years ago, 40 million trees have been planted nationwide, he disclosed.

Mr. Jinapor claimed in response to inquiries on the floor of parliament today that the administration is expanding the country’s forest estate while conserving existing ones through these programs.

Ghana’s estimated total area of forest is 6.6 million hectares, of which 1.2 million hectares are closed forest and 5.4 million hectares are open forest. These, however, are now mostly threatened by criminal operations like mining and logging.

According to him, deforestation and forest degradation are not new problems for the nation, which has lost over 80% of its forest since 1900.

According to Mr. Jinapor, the rate of deforestation reached its high in 2014, when more than 35,000 acres (acres) of forest were lost.

However, he gave the assurance that the government has implemented sufficient measures to stop the threat.

The Green Ghana Project, the Forest Plantation Strategy, the Youth in Afforestation Program, the Youth in Plantation Establishment as an Occupation Program, and other programs aim to increase the forest estate of the nation.

He mentioned initiatives like the suspension of exploration in forest reserves, the ban on the harvesting of Rosewood, and the issuance of CITES permits as some of the measures being implemented protect the existing forests.

Mr. Jinapor continued by saying that the National Security Coordinating Committee, which is headed by Minister of National Security Albert Kan Dapaah, has been instructed by Cabinet to work with the Forestry Commission to identify and expel any individuals engaged in unlawful activities in forest reserves.

Source: Ghanatodayonline.com/Nana Kwaku Boffah

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