Tree is life and must be respected as such, says Professor Stephen Larbi-Koranteng of the Apenten Appiah Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED).
“We are being made to believe that if the last tree dies, the last man also dies, yet many Ghanaians do not appreciate this literary meaning, hence the continuous destruction of trees without a permit from appropriate bodies.
This poses serious threats to our lifestyle, food production and the environment at large,” he said.
In its bid to green the country, a lot of interventions and strategies have been rolled out by successive governments.
The Green Ghana Project, launched in June, 2021 by President Akufo-Addo, has seen 27million trees planted so far.
The move, according to the government, is a climate change adaptation mechanism.
The government is investing huge sums of money in attaining compact 2 of the COP2 conventions.
But Prof. Stephen Larbi-Koranteng, a Molecular Plant Pathology expert, says the investments will be an exercise in futility if the law enforcement agencies fail to crackdown on those felling trees illegal in the country.
He made the remarks at a symposium to commemorate World Forest Day organized by the Natural Resources Student’s Association of AAMUSTED, Asante Mampong Campus.
Prof. Larbi-Koranteng observed that most of the planted trees have been deliberately cut-off or destroyed by human activities, a situation he described as disturbing at a time the country is trying hard to restore its depleted forest zones.
“The activity of free-range cattle grazing in our cities has also contributed to the destruction of most of the trees planted along our road intersections, and climate change – unpredictable weather resulting in floods, prolonged droughts – are all key factors defeating the purpose of the Green Ghana Project.“Whilst others are being destroyed as a result of real estate development, with little or no interest by the responsible municipality and district assemblies in the country.“How would one cut down a tree without being apprehended, knowing very well that she or he is killing a living organism. Can that happen when someone kills a human being?
It’s not practically acceptable to me as a pathologist,” he said.According to Prof. Larbi-Koranteng, trees play a pivotal function in reducing erosion and moderating climate, hence he is strongly rooting for stiffer punishment to offenders and actors deeply involved in harming trees in the country.“It therefore behooves Ghanaians to see the existence of trees and its important role in our daily lives.“To leave the future generations and their communities with a richer and better ecosystem environment, we must be proactive in preserving trees being planted,” he said.
If we cannot protect, monitor and manage simple tree planting exercises, then what is the essence in planting trees on world forest day? he quizzed.
“In fact, we must be proactive as people and stakeholders, and move away from the populism approach in addressing climate change in this country, we must move from speeches and act to reflect what is on the grounds’.“I’m deeply worried about the turn of events, we have been planting trees and people are cutting them off without action or sanctioned meted out against, how then, do you expect me to plant on each occasion, that should be the way out now?” he stated.