A former General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Forestry Commission.Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as ‘Sir John’, is succeeding Mr. Samuel Afari Dartey as CEO of the Commission.However ,some environmentalists in the country are skeptical over the appointment by the President of Ghana casting doubt on the expertise of the legal Practitioner cum Politician to effectively handle the “endangered” forestry sector.
The Forestry Commission of Ghana is responsible for the regulation of utilization of forest and wildlife resources, the conservation and management of those resources and the coordination of policies related to them.
The Commission embodies the various public bodies and agencies that were individually implementing the functions of protection, management, the regulation of forest and wildlife resources. These agencies currently form the divisions of the Commission.
Currently, the rate of deforestation in Ghana is estimated to be one of the highest in the world after Togo and Nigeria .At an estimated annual rate of 2% ,equivalent to 135,000 hectares per annum. The Green west Africa country is estimated to have lost over 60% of its forest cover from 1950 to date,which translates to about 2.7 million hectares of forest depleted .
According to the Ghana REDD+ strategy reviewed document Prepared by the National REDD+ Secretariat of Ghana forwarded and released by the Forestry commission of Ghana in 2017,the main drivers of deforestation and degradation in the country are farming,both legal and illegal mining ,illegal lumbering ,wildfires ,fuel wood harvesting and infrastructural development while weak law enforcement coupled with corruption,population growth and development also form part of indirect causes.
Ghana’s forest Land is demarcated into three main ecological zones which are High Forest Zone,Transitional Zone and Savannah zone.The High Forest Zone falls within the biodiversity hotpots of Guinean forest,considered to be one of the 36 most vital biodiversity areas in the world.The forest belts in Ghana are rich with abundant natural resources such as minerals , timber and various wildlife species .