Home       News & Events
PRESS RELEASE
Posted: 17 May 2017

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                                              ROSEWOOD HARVESTING IN GHANA AND WAY FORWARD

Rosewood (Pterocorpus Erinaceous) over the past years, was not considered among the commonly traded Ghanaian timber species on the international markets until nearly a decade ago, when its samples were added to be exhibited for promotion.

The acceptability of Rosewood on the international market some five years ago, led to the granting of harvesting permits to a few timber merchants for export. In the last few years, the harvesting and export of Rosewood has really gotten out of control.

In an attempt to curb the rampant indiscipline, the sector Ministry under the previous government, banned the harvesting, transport and export of Rosewood. The intention was to allow an evaluation of the situation.

Upon the realization that large stock of Rosewood remained on the ground after the ban, 13 companies were granted permits in July 2015 to salvage lying and confiscated logs that had been felled by farmers in many locations.

This salvage initiative once again resulted in indiscriminate felling of the timber species, thus compelling the new Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. John Peter Amewu, on assumption of office to once again conduct investigations into the trade. It was revealed that large volumes of Rosewood were still being harvested indiscriminately particularly in the three Northern Regions. This situation poses serious threats to the forest cover in these Regions leaving the option for the Minister to revisit the placement of a ban on the harvesting, transporting and exporting of Rosewood in the country.

In spite of the ban, reports clearly indicate that the activity persists, further aggravating the threat of environmental degradation and its consequential effects. Accordingly, in a letter dated 10th February, 2017, the Ministry directed the Forestry Commission to enforce the directive by preventing the harvest, transport and export of Rosewood.

As part of the original plan, four (4) out of the 13 selected companies were charged to remove trees which may break and get in the way of the turning turbines at the Bui Dam, thereby  affecting their smooth functioning. The removal of these trees from the enclave is also supposed to create a fairway for safe lake transport in future.

The announcement of the ban however, has stalled the process. It is envisaged therefore that the water level will continue to rise, and many trees are likely to be submerged.  If the trees are not removed, it could create serious problems as some of the trees, especially those felled could be washed into the turbines and cause serious damage to the whole project.

Currently, harvesting of Rosewood is known to take place from Off-reserve areas and if mature trees are left standing, there is the likelihood that fresh felling will continue for charcoal production.

The West African States at the recent CoP 17 of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in South Africa decided that Rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) be listed as CITES Appendix II by January 2017. CITES uses three appendices, namely I, II and III to regulate species usage depending on the level of threat of extinction. In this regard, Appendix II species are not necessarily threatened with extinction but trading in it must be controlled in order to avoid utilization levels that would negatively impact their survival.

In view of the aforementioned background information, we wish to state as follows:

  1. All permits in respect of the harvesting, transport and export of Rosewood expired on the 31st December 2016 under a ‘Stop-Work’ order issued by the Forestry Commission. Additionally, all existing agreements for the removal of trees from the Bui Dam enclave are revoked. In due course, new companies will be selected on merit to undertake the assignment.
  2. Future extraction of all Rosewood would be based on the CITES approved yearly volume quota for the country. In other words, the Forestry Commission will regulate the exploitation of Rosewood in accordance with agreements with CITES.
  3. Henceforth, the Forestry Commission will be tasked to ensure domestic processing of Rosewood logs for value addition prior to export to overseas markets.
  4. Regarding the Bui Dam assignment, the four companies who were given permits to remove trees within the enclave and fairways and have not settled their debts with the Bui Authorities will lose any existing stock recorded in their names.
  5. As a result of the earlier directive which was issued on 10th February, 2017, a total of 361 containers of Rosewood, belonging to different companies have been impounded and currently located at the ports and some wood depots across the country.
  6. To decongest the port and depots, companies will be granted a one-off CITES permit to enable them dispose of their consignments in view of the fact that they have already paid all statutory fees to the Forestry Commission. However, all of these companies will be expected to pay appropriate penalties on these consignments for flouting the 30th December 2016 “Stop Work” order. It is only after payment of these penalties that the Forestry Commission will grant clearance for CITES certificates to be issued to enable shipment of the existing seized stocks. The affected companies have been given a two-month notice from the day of this Press Conference to complete this exercise.
  7. The Forestry Commission has included Rosewood in the list of recommended tree species under the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy (2016 – 2040).

All companies affected by these directives are kindly requested to contact the Forestry Commission Headquarters, Accra, for further information.

ISSUED BY

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

FORESTRY COMMISSION

ACCRA

4TH MAY, 2017

For further information, contact

The Corporate Affairs & Media Relations Unit,

Forestry Commission, Accra.

Tel: 233 (0) 302 401 210233/ (0) 302 401 210

Email: jokwafo@fcghana.org

Website: www.fcghana.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forestry Commission of Ghana       |   About Us  |   Site Map   |   Contact Information   |