File photo: A coffin

The Forestry Commission has uncovered new ways some illegal
chainsaw operators use to transport their contraband goods.

According to reports, some illegal operators, after harvesting the timber, convert them into beams and transport them to Accra in coffins to avoid arrest and confiscation of their illegal lumber at Forestry Commission checkpoints.

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Director of Operations in-charge of Special Duties, Mr Charles Owusu disclosed this on Adom FM’s morning show, Dwaso Nsem, Thursday while discussing the difficulties they face in curbing illegal logging in Ghana.

This comes after Forestry experts warned that Ghana risks losing
its total forest cover in 10 years if the current rate of forest depletion is
not stopped.

It is estimated that Ghana has lost 60% of her total of 9.2 million hectares of forest cover to illegal logging, illegal mining, and farming.

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Forestry experts have cautioned that Ghana’s Forest Reserves may be totally depleted by 2040 should the current annual deforestation rate of 3.2% continue unabated.

Commenting on the matter, Mr Owusu said inasmuch as the Forestry Commission is doing its best, protecting Ghana’s forest cover is a collective responsibility.

He noted that, over the years, their work has been impeded by illegal chainsaw operators because most of them have the tacit support of chiefs and indigenes in the community.

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Mr Owusu cited how their operations at the Bosambepo, Subin, Ayum and Bonkoni Forest reserves have proven futile due to lack of support from indigenes.

“Even when illegal chainsaw operators are arrested, you will get chiefs and opinion leaders begging for their release which is affecting our work,” he bemoaned.

The Forestry Commission Director of Operations noted that, since the illegal chainsaw operators are finding it difficult to transport the wood, they now use coffins and even VIP buses to outwit the joint military and forestry taskforce.

This notwithstanding, Mr Owusu said they have recruited many forestry guards to save the remaining virgin forest in the country.

Source: Ghana|Adomonline.com|Adwoa Gyasiwaa Agyeman