Accra� The community members of Bomigo Island in the Volta Region has undergone a day’s training workshop on alternative woodlots, climate change and sustainable mangrove conservation.
They were taken through the benefits of conserving mangroves, planting of fast growing multi-purpose trees and the practising of agro-forestry to protect the ecosystem.
The workshop was held under the auspices of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Solutions (ISEES)’s Department for Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resources Management in partnership with the Bomigo Youth and Development Association (BYDA) with support from the Canadian Funds for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
It was part of a project Improving the Health and Livelihoods of Women Fish Processors in the Bomigo Community through Climate Smart Efficient Stove Technologies in the Keta Municipality.
The workshop was aimed at encouraging community members to take action to reduce the depletion of mangroves as fuelwood, promote alternative woodlots and sustainable mangrove harvesting practices.
Mr Lovans Owusu-Takyi, the Director of ISEES in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said mangroves play significant roles in conserving the ecosystem in coastal communities as well as contributing to the local economy, biodiversity conservation and the ecology of the communities.
It is a habitat of various species of crustaceans, crabs, among others. However, there is high level of mangrove harvesting in the island communities serving as fuelwood for residents in the urban areas of the Keta Municipality, he said.
Mr Owusu-Takyi said tackling deforestation was an important issue for Ghana’s future because there had been a 70 per cent reduction in its forest cover in the last 40 years, partially caused by overharvesting for cooking fuels.
In the case of the coastal areas, mangrove ecosystems are being depleted as fuel for fish-smoking, he stated, adding that mangroves are habitat for breeding of aquatic animals and that their depletion had led to the extinction of the animals.
The Director said it was therefore necessary to sensitise the communities for them to understand the importance of cultivating fast growing multipurpose trees as woodlots for sustainable mangrove management.
The workshop touched on tree planting, use of alternative tree types, the benefit of trees, desertification and deforestation and its effect on island communities, and the various methods of efficient planting and harvesting of mangroves.
The lessons would enable the community members to practise sustainable harvesting of mangroves as well as take initiatives to replant deforested areas.
It would also help the people to understand the various tree species used for woodlot establishment and be able to invest in its cultivation.
About 400 seedlings of Cassia albida were donated to the BYDA to be planted as woodlot in the community.
Mr Pasquale Salvaggio, Political Counsellor and CFLI Programme Manager in a remark underscored the commitment of the Canadian Government and the people of Canada, to contribute to climate change mitigation in vulnerable communities in partnership with local organisations.
He mentioned some of the priority partnership policy of the Canadian High Commission as climate change mitigation, child rights, women empowerment and rights of sexual minorities.
Mr Salvaggio said the Commission was pleased to collaborate with ISEES and the Bomigo community and commended them for their efforts to work hard to protect their environment and to conserve the mangroves for the future.
He was taken round to inspect some of the improved cookstoves used for fish processing by the women in the Bomigo community.
Mr Emmanuel Etse Kpodzo, the Assembly Member for Atiteti-Bomigo urged the community members to undertake tree planting seriously to improve the ecosystem in the area so as to benefit from the sustainable mangrove harvesting.
Mr Hudi, Chairman of the BYDA expressed gratitude to ISEES and the Canadian High Commission for their support and gave the assurance that the tree seedlings would be utilised and also put into practice lessons learnt at the workshop to enhance the ecosystem of the community.
Other personalities present at the workshop were; Ms Bertha Desmennu, Public Affairs and Programme Officer from the Canadian High Commission and Mr Promise Fiagbe, the Director of Fisheries.
Source: Ghana News Agency