Forestry Commission to check illegal forest activities with drones

By Wendy Amarteifio
Forestry Commission
Forestry Commission to check illegal forest activities with drones

The Forestry Commission is considering the use of drones to check illegal forest activities in the country.

The commission has stated that the activities of the perpetrators of forest crimes have become more sophisticated and complex and it has, therefore, become essential for the Forestry Commission to leverage on technology to fight the situation.

In Accra last Thursday, at the launch of the International Day of Forests, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, speaking at the event said the drones had become necessary to easily access the forests, move over a larger area in a short period of time and reconcile information in real time.

“It is an area which we have identified that if we invest in, it is going to be helpful. We have our staff undergoing intensive training, while we are collaborating with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to source for funding to procure the drones,” he said.

Although the day is observed globally on March 21 every year to raise awareness of the importance of all sorts of trees and woodlands, Ghana will commemorate it together with the eighth Forestry Week and Greening Ghana Day, which is scheduled to take place in the capital of the Ahafo Region, Sunyani, from June 10 to June 14.

This year’s celebration has been dubbed “Forest and Education, Our Responsibility,” and it is focusing on the role of trees in mitigating the impact of climate change and the positive effect of urban green spaces, among other subjects.

CEO of Forestry Commission, Mr. Owusu-Afriyie stated that: “the drones will not replace human beings but will rather complement their efforts.

''If we talk of issues like bush fires and other disasters, some of them will be seen in real time even before our men get there and this will prevent the situation from getting out of hand.”

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission said the Commission had made lots of progress through its Youth in Afforestation Programme despite being faced with almost daily challenges in deforestation, illegal logging, and bush burning, among others.

“We have been able to plant 10 million trees to cover 250,000 hectares from last year although we did not start early. This year, we are going to start as early as possible to go beyond this achievement, and we will extend it to schools,” he said.

He appealed to the public to take a keen interest in afforestation to protect their communities and the country at large.