Mrs. Esther Obeng Dapaah, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines has blamed the state, traditional and civil society organisations for the nation’s highly fragmented forest ecosystem.

She said satellite images have revealed the fragmented forest system, which has consequently denied wild animals the requisite space to regenerate.

Mrs Dapaah made the observation in a speech read on her behalf at a national workshop at the University Ghana, Legon, to develop a framework for the establishment and management of Community Resources Management Areas.

The framework is to be incorporated into Ghana’s Forest Master Plan, which is currently under review.

The CREMA, an initiative of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, has the aim of providing skills, capacity, and finance to communities to better handle and preserve the forest resources in the areas where a CREMA is established.

So far one CREMA is fully established at Amokwasoazo in the Western Region, and at least, there are 15 others at different stages of development countrywide.

Mrs. Dapaah recalled that a study commissioned 10 years ago by the Ministry revealed that annual bush meat consumption was about 225,000 tonnes and valued at US$350 million, but very little of that amount trickled down to the local communities.

Also the wildlife-based enterprise economy is floundering and the major players are desperately putting in survival strategies.

The Minister said the CREMA concept was designed to devolve responsibility and authority for wildlife management, and called for support for such programmes to regulate wildlife utilisation off reserve.

Source: GNA