GLOBAL DEFORESTATION IMPACT

Forests cover about 30 percent of the planet’s land mass, but humans are cutting them down, clearing these essential habitats on a massive scale. What is deforestation? Find out the causes, effects, and solutions. As the world seeks to slow the pace of climate change, preserve wildlife, and support billions of people, trees inevitably hold a major part of the answer.

Yet the mass destruction of trees—deforestation—continues, sacrificing the long-term benefits of standing trees for short-term gain. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Between 1990 and 2016, the world lost 502,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometers) of forest, according to the World Bank—an area larger than South Africa. Since humans started cutting down forests, 46 percent of trees have been felled, according to a 2015 study in the journal Nature. About 17 percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed over the past 50 years, and losses recently have been on the rise.

We need trees for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that they absorb not only the carbon dioxide that we exhale, but also the heat-trapping greenhouse gases that human activities emit. As those gases enter the atmosphere, global warming increases, a trend scientists now prefer to call climate change. Tropical tree cover alone can provide 23 percent of the climate mitigation needed over the next decade to meet goals set in the Paris Agreement in 2015, according to one estimate.

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Causes of deforestation
Farming, grazing of livestock, mining, and drilling combined account for more than half of all deforestation. Forestry practices, wildfires and, in small part, urbanization account for the rest. In Malaysia and Indonesia, forests are cut down to make way for producing palm oil, which can be found in everything from shampoo to saltines. In the Amazon, cattle ranching and farms—particularly soy plantations—are key culprits.
Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also fell countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to further deforestation. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl as land is developed for homes.

Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires and overgrazing, which may prevent the growth of young trees.
Why it matters and what can be done.
Deforestation affects the people and animals where trees are cut, as well as the wider world. Some 250 million people living in forest and Savannah areas depend on them for subsistence and income—many of them among the world’s rural poor. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and deforestation threatens species including the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, and many species of birds. Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and retains heat at night. That disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.

Yet the effects of deforestation reach much farther. The South American rainforest, for example, influences regional and perhaps even global water cycles, and it’s key to the water supply in Brazilian cities and neighboring countries. The Amazon actually helps furnish water to some of the soy farmers and beef ranchers who are clearing the forest. The loss of clean water and biodiversity from all forests could have many other effects we can’t foresee, touching even your morning cup of coffee. In terms of climate change, cutting trees both adds carbon dioxide to the air and removes the ability to absorb existing carbon dioxide. If tropical deforestation were a country, according to the World Resources Institute, it would rank third in carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, behind China and the U.S.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF DEFORESTATION.

The global impact of deforestation cannot be underestimated. Each year countries around the world are continually spending huge sums of monies to help manage the menace.
Below are some few nations with the spending budget.
Over the last decade China spent $100 billion on reforestation. So why does it have ‘green deserts’?
Beijing’s Grain-for-Green program has helped blanket the country’s hillsides with trees, undoing damage from decades of blistering development. But fostering biodiversity remains a challenge, conservationists say.

WHAT GHANA IS DOING ABOUT DEFORESTATION

In Ghana, the national reforestation program has rescued a number of young people from joblessness.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated GH¢144million over the next two-years to fund the ‘Greening Ghana’ initiative aimed at engaging 15,000 youth for the tree planting project under the Youth in Agriculture and Afforestation Module. The Greening Ghana programme is an initiative being spearheaded by Forestry Commission and is targeted at making Ghana green within the next 10 years through planting trees at public places: including major roadsides, schools, hospitals, hotels, churchyards and around water-bodies. The program is also in line with government’s job creation agenda and commitment to solving the unemployment situation in the country. .

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Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie-Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, speaking to journalists after a visit to the Achimota Nursery Site to see the progress of work said: “By the next 10 years, we will ensure that Ghana is green again. In some places, when you touch down you see that the entire country is green with trees; we want to replicate that in Ghana”. He explained that the Ministry of Finance has allocated GH¢6million a month to pay allowances for the 15,000 youth engaged by the Commission – which is ready for disbursement. As part of the project, which has been oversubscribed with more than 33,000 youth applying, personnel of the programme will be trained and equipped to, among others, carry out forestry plantation establishment, maintain existing forest plantations, Coppice management and enrichment plantation, he said. Mr. Afriyie indicated that the Forest Service Division has also begun implementation of the modified Tanya System under the National Forest Plantation Development Programme, which has since engaged over 10,000 farmers across the country and an estimated 4,000 hectares of forest plantations have been established within degraded forest reserves.

The Forestry Commission and the Youth Employment Agency, in November last year, signed a service agreement to engage 15,000 youth across the country to implement a Forest Plantation Programme. The programme, under the Youth in Agriculture and Afforestation Module, is to enable the youth contribute to environmental and forest protection in the country. Mr. Afriyie said the enthusiasm exhibited shows “the young men and women of this country are desirous of getting some employment”. He indicated that the planting programme should begin by June, under which graduate personnel will receive GH¢1,200 while diploma and non-graduates receive GH¢800 and GH¢400 respectively. He said the Commission had since met district and regional officers to ensure the programme’s success. “We are going to schools, hospitals, dam-sites – and wherever we can find that needs trees planted, we will do so,” he said. As a start, Mr. Afriyie said the Commission has identified some places in Accra where the tree planting project will begin. He indicated that institutions such as West African Secondary School, Pantang Hospital, and Prampram Senior High School had all given the Commission acres of land to plant trees. Other areas include the Weija Dam site and Achimota Forest Reserve. As part of the programme, the Commission will cultivate some 400 trees per hectare, many of which will be commercial trees for industry.

Data from the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020, a global public-private partnership in which partners aim to reduce tropical deforestation, show that the country’s forest cover has dwindled from a high of 8.4million hectares as at 1900 to a low of 1.8million hectares currently. It added that between 1990 and 2000 Ghana lost an average of 135,000 hectares per annum, while the current deforestation rate is estimated to be around 3.2 percent per annum. Edith Ansah, the Regional Manager, Greater Accra Region for the plantation project who took journalists round the Achimota Nursery Site, said with the introduction of the programme the nursery has been expanded to nurse over 250,000 seedlings by end of the year. Already, some 120,000 seedlings have been nursed. She noted that currently some 15 species of plants have been nursed to kick-start the project, employing about 652 youth engaged in the project. The country has started seeing positive signs of progress since the Youth in Afforestation Program started in 2018, according to Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission. “All together, we employed about 60,000 young men and women for the afforestation program,” the CEO disclosed when he accompanied the media to the field recently to verify proof of work by the temporary youth workers of the commission. Owusu-Afriyie added this year the commission planted about 10 million trees and if that is expected to be replicated over the next three years. While the young employees planted trees on 8,000 hectares of land, the entire national reforestation program, which include what the regular staff of the Forestry Commission and the private sector, accounted for 26 million trees planted on 24,000 hectares over the past year.

Government spends at least 20 million Ghana cedis (about 3.84 million US dollars) monthly on the allowances of these temporary young workers alone, with the CEO arguing that the expenditure was justifiable due to the enormous benefits Ghana stood to reap in future. “We are talking about 20 million Ghana cedis a month because of the sheer numbers. But you cannot quantify the jobs that they have done in monetary terms.” “Trees have value and the value that the country will derive cannot be quantified in any monetary terms. So the benefit that the entire country will obtain in the next 10 years to 20 years is what I am looking forward to and that is what gives us joy and hope to continue to soldier on,” he added. The CEO lauded the young employees for their performance so far. Part of the work of the Youth in Afforestation involves planting of trees within the buffer zones of the country’s water bodies. At Tomefa, near the Weija Dam at south-western end of the capital, Esther Oppong-Agyei, head supervisor of the forest plantation staff, said the personnel sometimes had to spend their own money in watering the tender trees on the 13 hectares of stretch of land to ensure they survived the harsh weather condition of the dry season. “We came here in the middle of June, given a two-year contract, and we are in the ninth month. With the help of the government, giving us logistics, the work has been effective,” she told the media. Among the employees were field assistants, assistant supervisors, and supervisors. The supervisor pointed out that the field work was not easy, but with the morale, they have achieved a lot. Tree planting along the Densu River at Tomefa is an intervention which, according to Paul Kwame Senahia, Chairman of the Densu Lake Protection Committee, was a timely intervention to prevent the danger of the lake drying up in the near future. The Weija Lake has been experiencing pollution from cow dung, human feces, agriculture waste and other household wastes as a result of encroachment. “The lake is so polluted because of encroachment. The buffer zone is supposed to be 300 meters from the river bank but people have encroached on the buffer zone.” “If we do not do tree planting, the encroachment will come up to the lake and it will cause a lot of pollution to the water.

So we appreciate what the government and Forestry Commission are doing,” the official stated. In addition to Tomefa, tree planting has been going on in other areas, including Joma Agbozume in the Ablekuma District and the Achimota forest Eco-Tourism center where species like Mahogany, Ofram and Acacia are planted. Speaking to the media in the Achimota forest, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio lauded the initiative and the hard work by the youth employees. “This is going a long way to help in terms of decreasing the deforestation rate that we are seeing in the country. We are all witness to current harsh climate conditions that we are experiencing,” the deputy minister commented. He argued that if the country had started this tree planting years back, the deforestation would have been reversed entirely. “So, this is a good beginning and we only need to continue to encourage Forestry Commission for the good work that they are doing. I have been very pleased to see this here,” the official added.

EXCERPT FROM PART IV OF GHANA FOREST PLANTATION STRATEGY: 2016-2040

Budget and Funding Sources The total cost of implementing the Strategy over the 25-year period (2016 – 2040) is US$4,064,389,800 (Appendix 6).

Funding for the Strategy will be sourced from government (public) and private sector. Government funding is expected to come from direct budget support, levies (eg. a 5 percent carbon levy on petroleum products could yield an estimated US$145million/year [based on an estimated average annual crude oil consumption of 24 million barrels from 2010 to 2013 and current weighted average fuel price of US$0.76/litre]), pension funds (e.g. SSNIT) and contributions from development partners (DPs). Support from DPs would be in the form of loans, grants and direct budgetary support. Private sector funds are expected to be sourced from debt and/or equity financing and grants.

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Public Private Partnership options for the establishment of new plantations, coppice management and maintenance of existing ones will be pursued to attract private sector investments for plantation development.
Other sources of funding will include revenue from issuance of conveyance certificates for woodfuel and private forest plantation timber.
Generally, the Government of Ghana and its agencies and development partners, apart from directly funding limited establishment and maintenance of public forest plantations, will mainly fund activities aimed at facilitating the creation of an enabling environment for investment in forest plantation development.

These will include promulgation of legislations, policies and establishment of institutional structures that promote investment in forest plantations;creation of land banks; genetic tree improvement and subsequent provenance testing and establishment of seed stands; Licensing of tree nurseries and plantation development contractors; capacity building within key agencies charged with supporting forest plantation development; research; etc. Private sector investments will mainly target the actual implementation of forest plantation projects.

WHAT FURWODD IS DOING TO HELP CURB DEFORESTATION IN AFRICA

It is almost impossible as humans to live without the use of trees for various reasons and products such as papers, building, furniture just name them. And as a furniture company, we consume the trees- no doubt about that, however if we replace them whiles we cut them down, we will still enjoy the benefits trees contribute to human survival.

There is a popular adage in Africa that goes like “…if you take a friend’s item for use even without informing him/ her and immediately returns it after use, it’s just like you never touched it”.
We at Furwoodd believe something really needs to change. The world population is growing by the minute and so is the global consumer class.

In spite of this, In the community we will also take into account one of our core missions, which is saving the planet by replacing or planting more trees to replace lost ones through diverse means- Through the “Save the Planet” Initiative, we allocate 10% of profit outside the charity program to help plant more trees to secure the environment to help the future of the world.
“We are going to schools, hospitals, dam-sites – and wherever we can find that needs trees planted, we will do so,” furwoodd CEO -Steve Dadzie says.

As a start, Steve Dadzie said the Commission has identified some places in Accra where the tree planting project will begin. These include some part of Kasoa-Weija-Accra Road Stretch.

HOW THIS WORKS

01

You buy from Furwoodd

For every product you purchase, we plant 1 baby tree!

02

We send money

The more you spend, the more we send. Your support goes to a non-profit organization that helps communities around the world plant trees and care for them.

03

Together, we plant trees

These guys distribute the funds between the projects we support, making sure that trees are being planted. Yup, it’s as simple as one-two-TREE!

To help send the campaign out there, for each product you purchase online, you will receive a T-Shirt conveying the message or proclaiming your commitment and support for helping the community. We encourage you post the sticker to vantage places in your home or community to help spread the news so you can encourage others to buy more so we plant more.

For NGO’s interested in supporting this initiative, please send inquiries to savetheplanetinitiative@furwoodd.com. Our team will vet your application and once your organization meet or align with the company’s mission, we call for immediate support and funding.

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