Forests, also known as the Lungs of the Earth, play a crucial role in the sustainability of our planet and our survival, by absorbing carbon dioxide and contributing to reductions in emissions. Unfortunately, the world’s forests are being depleted at an alarming rate. For example, since 1900, Ghana has lost over eight million hectares (8,000,000ha) of her forest cover, with almost one million hectares (1,000,000ha) lost in the last few years. Globally, it is estimated that the world lost over ten million hectares (10,000,000ha) of tropical forests in 2020 alone.
They have contributed to the phenomena of global warming and climate change, with adverse consequences, such as frequent droughts, perennial floods, temperature rise, erratic rainfall patterns, food insecurity and poverty, evident all around the world. According to experts, the climate crisis is reaching a tipping point, and requires urgent and collective action to safeguard our planet.
To reverse this disturbing situation, the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in 2021, launched the Green Ghana Project, as part of an aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme being embarked on by Government. The key objectives of the Project are to create enhanced national awareness of the necessity for collective action towards restoring degraded landscapes in the country, inculcating values of planting and nurturing of trees in the youth, mitigating climate change, and beautifying our communities and environment.
On the maiden edition of the Green Ghana Day, the President led the country to plant over seven million (7,000,000) trees, exceeding our target of five million (5,000,000). On March 1, 2022, the President launched the 2022 edition of the Green Ghana Day under the theme “Mobilising for a Greener Future.” The target for this year’s Green Ghana Day, which has been slated for June 10, 2022, is to plant, at least, twenty million (20,000,000) trees across the country. Planting targets have been allocated to all sixteen (16) regions. It is the expectation of Government that, this year, we will receive massive support from Ghanaians, foreigners and corporate Ghana to sustain the momentum and enthusiasm generated from last year’s event.
We have adopted a two-pronged strategy to achieve our target for this year. The first is to plant ten million (10,000,000) seedlings in degraded forest reserves in compartments. We encourage Corporate Ghana and other organisations to adopt forest compartments for planting, and we will brand these compartments in the names of these organisations, and same can be reported, either as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility or as offset for their carbon footprints.
The remaining ten million (10,000,000) seedlings will be planted outside forest reserves, particularly around farms, degraded watershed areas, boundaries, office compounds, and sites within communities, including, parks, roadsides, homes, churches, mosques and schools. Arrangements have been made for the supply and distribution of seedlings of various tree species across the country.
The rate of deforestation and forest degradation is alarming, and there is the urgent need to continue the vigorous intervention to reverse this trend of depletion. Deforestation and forest degradation continue to be the greatest threats to sustainable natural resources management, and its dire consequences on lives and livelihoods.
As we count down to the Green Ghana Day – June 10, 2022, we respectfully call on all and sundry to rally behind government, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Forestry Commission and other partners and stakeholders to make the Green Ghana Day a resounding success. We have a collective responsibility, as a people, to leave future generations and their communities with richer, better and more valuable forests and wildlife endowment than we inherited.