Ecocare Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, has launched a Community-led Restoration Project (CRP) to plant 300,000 indigenous seedlings in five communities in three districts in the country.
The beneficiary districts which are within the Transition Landscape of Ghana include the Techiman Municipality in the Bono East Region, Offinso Municipality and Offinso North District in the Ashanti Region.
The project, which was launched at Akomadan in the Offinso North District of the Ashanti Region, is a five-year landscape restoration initiative funded by One Tree Planted through its flagship African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which seeks to restore 100 million hectares of depleted land by 2030.
EcoCare Ghana has planned to use three years for the planting of the trees and the subsequent two years for maintenance and care for the planted trees.
The project is expected to restore about 1,000 hectares of degraded, deforested farmlands and fallow lands in the beneficiary communities.
EcoCare will collaborate with communities, smallholder farmers and key stakeholders to grow and nurture the proposed 300,000 seedlings.
The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the Transition Landscape’s climate change resilience, mitigation and adoptive capacity, while using community-led restoration programmes as a tool for improving tree cover and reducing farming-related emissions.
In addition, it will support Ghana's efforts in achieving Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 13 and 15.
The project has as its target stakeholders the Forest Services Division (FSD), Department of Agriculture (DOA), Lands Commission (LC), Landscape Cluster Executives, district assemblies’ representatives, traditional authorities, community leaders and representatives of smallholder farmers among others.
The Managing Campaigner of EcoCare Ghana, Obed Owusu-Addai, told journalists that, “One of the problems about tree planting is that the people plant them and leave them to die, so we have decided to use the first three years of the project to plant the trees and use the remaining two years to nurture them and make sure that they survive.”
He said the project was unique because the organisation had empowered the beneficiary communities to own the project, explaining that they had given them nursery contracts to produce seedlings to be transplanted.
Mr Owusu-Addai said they decided to actively involve the communities so that they could own the project and nurture the seedlings to survive.
“The reason we decided to do a community-led restoration programme is that previous tree planting strategies such as the Modified Taungya System (MTS) were not successful because the community element was missing, and that motivated us to involve communities,” he stated.
He said the project had targeted to plant indigenous species such as mahogany, Khaya senegalensis, ofram and emeri among others, adding that “we are concentrating on indigenous trees that used to be here some time ago and cannot be found anymore”.
Mr Owusu-Addai urged the public to embrace the tree planting exercise introduced by the government irrespective of their status in the society, as trees played a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change.
The Offinso Manager of the FSD, Dennis Dei-Kusi, said most of the forest reserves in the area had been degraded because of rampant bush fires and illegal felling of trees among other negative practices in the reserves.
He said the Green Ghana initiative served as an opportunity to plant more trees to restore the depleted forest reserves, explaining that already, the division had replanted 40 hectares of land in the area.