The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has bemoaned the rapid destruction of Ghana’s forest reserves.
They argue that the situation if not checked will not only lead to the extinction of some wild life species, but also result in huge revenue loss for the economy. Ghana’s forest reserves have in recent times been under threat from activities such as illegal mining.
In an interview, Professor at the Department of Plant and Environmental Biology at the University of Ghana, Professor Alfred Oteng Yeboah said government institutions and agencies should be strengthened to ensure the conservation of forests.
“Within the last three or four decades there has been a gradual change in forest cover, this is because of the kind of pressure that is coming in from all kinds of angles, people want land, they want to farm, people want timber, trees and so on”, he lamented
He argued that every creature has the right to live and therefore their habitats should be preserved. “Every life has to have an opportunity to exist and so in order not to completely exterminate the natural resource of the country which include wildlife it is important we protect animal species which are now in short supply”.
Professor Oteng Yeboah made these comments at a ceremony on the development of a trans frontier conservation area aimed at linking forest reserves and protected areas in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Fragmentation and loss of wildlife habitats has threatened the existence of many species in the high forest zones of West Africa over the last few decades. Mega- Herbivores like forest elephants with a large home range and equally large food requirements have been among the most affected species with regards to this phenomenon.
These keystone species in the high forest zone of West Africa are now found in small isolated forest fragments. There is a high risk of total extinction of most of these wildlife species unless pragmatic interventions are put in place to halt forest loss and degradation in the shortest possible time.
The Bio Diambarakro Trans frontier Elephant Corridor between south- western Ghana and south eastern Cote d’Ivoire has been identified by government stakeholders and conservation partners as a priority conservation hot spot.
The area requires immediate conservation action because it harbors high concentrations of endemic and threatened species of the Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem and yet threatened from agricultural expansion, hunting pressure, over- harvesting of forest products and human- wild –life conflicts.