Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, has urged traditional authorities to devise means to regain influence over the management of forests and water resources in their areas.
She said, on hindsight, one would wish that the taboos that restricted entry into certain forests or fishing in certain waters would be brought back as they served as measures to control the wanton dissipation of the nation’s resources.
Ms Ayittey was addressing a durbar in Ho on Wednesday to propagate UN declaration of 2010 as the International Year of Biological Diversity.
She observed that in the name of development, government functionaries issued permits to contractors to operate in forest reserves thereby damaging the country’s biodiversity.
Ms Ayittey said government, as its constitutional duty, would ensure the judicious use of the nation’s resources to sustain them to meet the needs of coming generations.
She said there was a link between poverty reduction and the sustainable management of biodiversity since the greater part of Ghana’s population lived in the rural areas eking out a living on forests and other natural resources.
Ms Ayittey said the UN interest, taken up by African government’s, through meetings of the ministers responsible for the environment, was to ensure the significant reduction in the current rate of the loss of biodiversity.
Professor Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, University of Ghana Lecturer in Biodiversity and Chairman of the Biodiversity Committee, said the rate of loss of forest resources in Ghana, now at eight per cent of land cover, was frightening.
He said the impression was that everybody wanted a little bit of the resources “which is not good enough”.
Professor Oteng-Yeboah said: “We may have to find alternative sources of wood products as there was too much pressure on the forests.”
Colonel Cyril Necku, Deputy Volta Regional Minister, called on the Forestry Commission to sustain programmes to restore degraded forests in parts of the region.
He said: “We have only one earth and must therefore do everything to sustain it in trust for the future generations”.