7 March 2005

Ghana: Chainsaw Operators Deforest Amobaka Off Reserves

Obuasi — THE COMMUNITY Forestry Committee (CFC) in Diaso, near Dunkwa-on-Offin, in the Upper Denkyira District of the Central Region, has called on the Forestry Commission to assist them in discharging their duties in the fight against illegal chainsaw operations in the area.

In a statement signed by the Secretary, Mr. Paul Adansi, and the chairman of the committee, Mr. Alfred Nyanki, and addressed to the Chief Executive of the Forestry Comission, a copy which was sent to The Chronicle, the committee expressed concern about the rate at which illegal chainsaw operators within the area were destroying the Amobaka forest and its off- reserves.

The committee also called on the Commission to come and inspect the state of the forest and urged them to come along with cameras to go round the forest and its off- reserves to see things for themselves.

"Please come to our aid for if that is not done, there will be no trees both in the forest reserve and the off reserve at Amobaka in two years to come" the committee pleaded.

The committee continued that, though it was formed five years ago to assist the forestry commission to check out chainsaw operators in the area, the members are not well resourced as the chain saw operators use sophisticated weapons during their operations two of the weapons they said were guns and mobile phones.

The committee noted that the inability of the Forestry Commission to punish such chain saw operators when they are caught has paved the way for them to take advantage of destroying the forest.

The statement gave an instance where the members of the committee, with forest officers from Kumasi and Bibiani, were told of an operation during which over 400 lumbers, two chainsaw machines were seized with one chainsaw operator arrested.

The Diaso Community Forestry Committee, according to the statement, said the case was sent to Bibiani forestry and nothing had since been heard about it despite every effort by them to ensure the chain saw operator was brought to the law, adding that even one-third of the lumber was not given to them.

They therefore called on the Ministry of Land and Forestry to come into their interventions in the check against illegal chainsaw operation in the area.

Meanwhile an attempt to reach both the Bibiani District Forestry Officer and the Upper Denyira Forest officer proved futile.

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