The Forestry Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with four institutions to undertake landscape restoration in the Tain II Forest Reserve and its fringe areas.
The MoU with Form Ghana Limited, Form International, the Berekum Traditional Council and the Berekum Municipal Assembly covers a four-year period, from 2017 to 2021, for phase I and it is expected to cost $6 million.
The MoU builds on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) established in 2013, between the Forestry Commission, the Berekum Traditional Council and Form Ghana to restore the Tain II Forest Reserve.
Speaking at the signing, Mr John Allotey, Deputy Chief Executive Forestry Commission, said the MoU was part of efforts to advance PPP initiatives by the government and the Forestry Commission’s mandate to ensure the sustainable management of the country’s forests.
He said the interventions would initially be piloted on an area of approximately 2,000 hectares, with the ultimate aim of restoring 100,000 hectares in the Tain II Forest Reserve.
Mr Allotey said the pilot interventions would focus mainly on community owned and managed land fringing the Tain II Forest Reserve.
Under the terms of the MoU, the parties have committed to increase tree cover and make agriculture and forestry more sustainable and more profitable, provide enhanced social and economic perspectives to local communities and businesses and enhance biodiversity and nature values for present and future generations.
It also aims at making the local communities more resilient to external threats such as climate change; improving the governance of the landscape to achieve good land stewardship; reducing wild fire risks; and combating forest encroachment and illegal logging.
Nana Dasebere Amankona Diawuo II, Omanhene of Berekum Traditional Area, expressed satisfaction at the initiation of the project.
He expressed the hope that cocoa farming, which used to be the major economic activity of the people would be restored as well as the natural vegetation.
He said the Tain Forest Reserve had been degraded through wild fires and illegal logging activities which have reduced the ability of the reserve to supply timber and other forest products and services for the forestry sector and local communities.
Willem Fourie, Managing Director of Form Ghana, said the company was aware that to succeed it must look outward to support the restoration of forests and lands in the adjoining communities.
The first phase is being supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) of Britain at the cost of six million US Dollars with the opportunity for renewal for a further four years.