The Ghana Forestry Commission, Forest Division, issued a stern warning to illegal timber contractors, emphasizing the strict prohibition of activities within strictly protected reserves in the Takoradi district.
Within this district lie four crucial forest districts—Subri Forest Reserve (around Daboase), Inchaban Head Waters, Sekondi Head Waters, and the Cape Three Point inside Agona-Nkwanta—under the careful watch of the Forest Division.
These reserves are divided into two key categories: production and protection areas, aimed at preserving and safeguarding the forests. Timber production is confined to protection areas exclusively.
KYZZ FM engaged Mr. Listowell Kwame Opoku, the regional human officer, and Stephen Yankson, the assistant district manager from the Forest Division of the Ghana Forestry Commission, to shed light on this critical issue.
Elucidating their primary responsibilities, Mr. Yankson highlighted their role in managing and assisting individuals in obtaining licenses to operate in designated compartments.
Their duties encompass developmental activities such as tree planting, alongside safeguarding reserves against illegal contractors and intruders.
Mr. Yankson emphasized that acquiring a license or a timber utilization contract from the Forestry Commission is mandatory before felling trees for timber.
Furthermore, Mr. Opoku stressed additional eligibility criteria for legal timber contractors, including company registration with the Registrar General, compliance with SSNIT regulations, and tax payment, among others.
Highlighting a sustainable approach, Mr. Opoku emphasized a 40-year regeneration planting initiative post-tree cutting.
This aims to replenish and secure resources for future generations.
Despite stringent regulations governing these reserves, unauthorized contractors trespass into strictly protected areas, leading to concerns about revenue loss and environmental impact, explained Mr. Yankson.
However, he assured that the Commission is capable and committed to apprehending illegal contractors to halt indiscriminate tree felling.
The Ghana Forestry Commission's unwavering dedication to enforcing regulations in safeguarding these reserves underscores its commitment to preserving Ghana's forests for sustainable use and future generations.