As the adage goes “when the last tree dies, the last man dies”.
It isn’t of no reason that our lives depend on the vegetation given by God making it so important to protect our forest against any and every activity that may cause its extinction.
Every country has an institution, enacted by laws that protects their vegetation and natural resources.
Ghana has been a place where such laws are not respected by some citizens and this has remained a canker gradually eating up our vegetation.
Some blame it on lack of education by the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, while others see it as negligence by citizens.
People lumber trees without going through the appropriate quarters, such as the Forestry commission to know the “Pro and Cons” before pulling down any vegetation.
A critical example is a publication carried in the Daily Graphic Newspaper on the February 9, 2023, where one Mr Gad Agyako Osafo, an alternative herbal practitioner based in Germany said his Medical Plant Garden financed by German donors got broken into by land guard from Ablekuma.
He said lumbers from the same area also cut down an over 500-year-old Baobab tree, destroying the Garden and also confiscating a borehole that waters the garden.
“This damage caused is very embarrassing and does not give a good picture of the country internationally, and may deter investors from doing business in the country ” he said.
A garden harbouring over 500 medicinal plants and trees serving both local and international community. The case is still pending in court.
I spoke to the Secretary of the Forestry Commission, Mrs Selasi Paku- Ansah who made it clear that ignorance of the law does not make one innocent of a crime, sighting the timber resources management and legality licensing regulations 2017(L.I.2254) “(1) which states that the Forestry Commission shall identify lands suitable for large- scale timber utilisation contract, (2) Subject to section 4 of the Act, that the Chief Executive Officer of the commission shall, for the purpose of identifying land under sub regulation (1), (a) cause to be prepared inventories of forest and timber on public lands, forest reserves, stool lands and any other lands as the Chief Executive may direct in their respective districts at the time that the Chief Executive may direct.
She went ahead to states that (3) the inventories shall be prepared by the district forest officers of the commission in consultation with the District Chief Executive of the areas of the lands concerned (4) where upon the completion of an exercise under sub regulation (2) and (3), the Chief Executive is satisfied that the inventories justify the grant of timber rights in respect of a land, the Chief Executive shall (a) direct the District Forest Officer of the district concerned to conduct a detailed field inspection of the land; and(b) inform the relevant district Chief Executive of the directive given to the district forest officer to conduct the inspections.
She said any natural tree, wherever it was located was a property of the state just like gold, and other precious minerals and the commission should be contacted before one can be granted the permit to lumber.
She added that even for commercial tree farmers, they had to register with the Commission and get a permit to cut down matured trees.
She urged citizens to respect and adhere to the laws governing our vegetation to avoid prosecution.
writer: Edward Anti-Nyinaku