The citizenry have an obligation to protect the tree seedlings being planted under the Green Ghana Project, Baffour Kwaku Amoateng IV, Chief of Jachie, in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti Region, has advised.
According to the chief, the success of the project was critical to the survival of humanity given the complexities and synergy existing in biodiversity.
“It is often said that when the last tree dies, the last man dies. “Within this context, Ghanaians have a moral duty to protect the variety of tree seedlings being nurtured under the Project across the country,” he told the Ghana News Agency (GNA), after a tree planting exercise at Jachie.
The exercise was in line with the commemoration of the Green Ghana Day, an initiative of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), designed to plant as many trees as possible to improve the country’s depleting forest cover.
Baffour Amoateng, citing data from the MLNR, said with the current annual deforestation and forest degradation rate of two per cent – equivalent to 135, 000 hectares loss of forest cover, there could not have been a better time for the afforestation Project to be executed than now.
The loss of trees and other vegetation has a high potential of causing climate change, desertification, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding, and increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, says environmentalist scientists.
Added to these challenges is the loss of livelihood for indigenous people, who are dependent on forestry resources for survival.
Baffour Amoateng reminded the people that trees served socio-economic and religious purposes, therefore, the traditional authorities would deal ruthlessly with anybody caught destroying the tree seedlings being planted under the afforestation Project.
He lauded the Government for its commitment to recover what had been lost in respect of the environment, saying the Jachie community was supportive of the noble initiative.
Mr Kusi Appiah, the Customer Service officer at the Bekwai Office of the Forestry Commission, said the District had targeted planting 450,000 tree seedlings of varied species this year.
He stated that his outfit would ensure effective coordination and monitoring of institutions and persons who participated in the exercise to ensure that the trees flourished.