Climate change mitigation road show begins soon

Business News of Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Source: B&FT

Samuel Afari Dartey Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission, through the National REDD+ Secretariat, will undertake its first National Road Show aimed at galvanising public support for actions and measures targeted at addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the country.

The Road Show which is under the theme “Reducing Forest Loss and Climate Change Impacts through REDD+; Our Collective Responsibility”, will begin in late September and end in early November this year.

Four strategic locations, namely Damongo, Hohoe, Dormaa Ahenkro and Tarkwa, have been identified as locations for the first edition and the Road Show will use documentaries on effects of deforestation, durbars, school visits, community engagements, poster exhibitions, floats among others to sell the REDD+ message.

The REDD+ denotes reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks.

It is an international mechanism that creates an incentive for developing countries to protect and better manage their forest resources as one of the ways of addressing climate change.

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The Chief Executive Officer of Forestry Commission, Samuel Afari Dartey, said forests serve as sinks for carbon dioxide and their destruction results in the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

He said in addition to their carbon storage role, forests provide many other ecosystem services like water regulation, soil protection, provision of non-timber forest products, food, biodiversity conservation among others to society.

For instance, he said rivers such as Birim, Densu and Ayensu, which are the sources of drinking water supply to the inhabitants of Accra, take their sources from the Atiwa Range Forest Reserve — but these rivers are at a very high risk of dying-up sooner or later because of illegal chainsaw activities which are destroying the Reserve.

In addition, he said deforestation — especially through the clearing and burning of forests for agricultural purposes — releases the carbon content of trees into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide whereas mismanagement of forest resources impairs the ability of forest ecosystems to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis.

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He said REDD activities such as forest restoration projects will help reduce climate change and its negative impacts in the world. It also provides a platform for the right strategies to be developed to overcome deforestation, thereby reversing the trend.

“Climate change is very important to Africa, and Ghana for that matter, in that our peasant farmers practice rain-fed agriculture; they depend solely on the weather conditions for their farming activities. Therefore any slight change in weather patterns affects their productivity, which is a threat to food security.

“There have been several attempts at mitigating climate change worldwide and one of the most recognised programmes, which Ghana has signed onto, is the REDD+ mechanism,” he said.

According to him, climate change has been recognised as one of the greatest threats facing the planet today, adding that there is strong evidence that global warming over the last half-century has been largely accelerated by human activities such as burning fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation.

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Through these human activities the concentration of greenhouse gases has risen, leading to the trapping of more heat from the earth’s surface — and this causes excessive heat in the atmosphere, he added.