ACCRA, Ghana’s Forestry Commission is reviewing and strengthening its permit regime in order to effectively regulate the harvesting of rosewood in the country in line with the agreement reached under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), says its Deputy Chief Executive, John Allotey.

Future extraction of all rosewood in Ghana will be based on the CITES approved yearly volume quota for the country, he says, adding that the commission will also ensure domestic processing of rosewood logs to achieve value-addition in the country prior to export to overseas markets.

Allottey says the review of the permits regime and the adoption of stringent measures in the industry are necessary to avoid utilization levels which will negatively impact the survival of rosewood trees.

He notes that all permits in respect of the harvesting, transport and export of rosewood had expired on Dec 31, 2016 under a “stop-work” order issued by the Commission, and that all existing agreements for the removal of trees from the Bui Dam enclave at the southern end of Bui National Park in west-central Ghana have been revoked.

He says investigations reveal that large volumes of rosewood were being harvested indiscriminately particularly in the three northern regions (provinces), posing threats to the forest cover in the regions.

As a result of that, the Minister placed a ban on the harvesting, transporting and exporting of rosewood in the country, but reports indicated that the activity still persists, aggravating the threat of environmental degradation and its effects.