“For example, in our formative years, we were told that cutting down some trees would result in dire consequences, but what do we see today? People, out of curiosity, destroy such trees and nothing happens to them,” she added.
Miss Asamoah made the call at the Eastern Regional launch of the Ghana Forest Wildlife Policy in Koforidua.
The new policy has been designed to bring a new focus and direction to forest and wildlife management in Ghana.
She said the implementation of the 1994 Forest and Wildlife Policy brought a number of strategic initiatives and sector reforms which sought to improve and develop the forest resource base of the country and integrated good governance, transparency, equity and poverty reduction into the wildlife sector.
She said, unfortunately, after almost two decades of implementing the policy, Ghana’s timber and non-timber resources were being overexploited and continue to decline in both quantity and quality.
Miss Asamoah said unlike the 1994 policy which sought primarily to maintain the forest resources as a source of timber to feed a vibrant timber industry, the 2012 policy was a shift from the over dependence on timber production to biodiversity conservation.
The deputy minister said the focus of the new policy placed more emphasis on eco-tourism development so as to maximise the benefits that forests provided.
“The Atiwa Forest, Kakum National Park, Achimota Forest, Mole National Park, among others, are clear examples of the eco-tourism potential of this country which needs to be promoted,” she said.
She said the policy also provided good indication for a better future forest governance and that it must be embraced by all stakeholders.
Miss Asamoah was happy that a number of practical strategies had been defined in the policy document which required that resource managers and major stakeholders translated those strategies into actions that could address the current problems of the forest and wildlife sector.
She announced that a forestry development master plan would be developed after the regional launches to provide an action plan for the implementation of the policy.
The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Miss Mavis Ama Frimpong, was hopeful that the implementation of the policy would reverse the trend of environmental degradation in the region.