The Timber and Wood Workers Union (TWWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for a review of the granting of entry permits into forest reserves for mineral prospecting.
It has also called on the Forestry Commission (FC) to enforce the reclamation of mined areas in forest reserves by permit holders, while creating an enabling environment and policies that would encourage users of forest to embark on serious afforestation and re-aforestation.
Mr Mark Ofori Asante, Acting General Secretary of TWWU, made the call at the opening of the 10th quadrennial national delegates’ conference of the Union in Kumasi.
The three days conference was on the theme “Sustainable Forest Management in the Changing World of Work; The Role of the Union.”
Mr Asante said the Union had established a 640-hectare afforestation project at Kokoago, a community in the Bono-East Region of Ghana aimed at ensuring a sustainable raw material base for the timber and wood industry and job security of its members.
Among the trees planted are teak, Odum and Oframo.
He said forests were critical for human development, not only for historical perspective, but also in today’s world.
However, increased demand for timber and wood products globally, clearing of land for agricultural and industrial purposes due to increasing population as well as industrial expansion and development, had contributed significantly to forest degradation and deforestation.
Mr Asante called for effective measures to restore the country’s forest reserves to promote environmental sustainability.
Dr. Kwakye Ameyaw, Technical Advisor at the Forestry Commission, said the relevance of the wood industry could not be over-emphasized.
That was why the Commission had in the past years introduced a number of sustainable forest management interventions such as the Ghana Forest Plantation Development Strategy, the Ghana REDD Strategy and the Timber Field Regulation Formula to ensure the sustainability of the country’s forest.