BUSH BURNING AND DEFORESTATION – THE CLIMATE HEADACHE

Writen By: ADOMHENE ADANE ANKOMAH

The rampant occurrence of climate change has for some time now perplexed the general public, especially the farmers. Each day, writers of various dispositions are found expressing their views on this disturbing issue. I read in the Ghanaian Times about the causes of Climate change, where many expressed their distaste for the topic and I realized their inability to come up with the real causes, but Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Cheremeh, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources cleared the air with some causes, some of which are stated below.
Climate change is the variation of elements of climate at a given period as stated by scientist.

The average records of weather conditions over a long period is climate. Most farmers in Ghana depend on the weather to cultivate crops. As we all know, what we had expected as rain this year in the wet season was not as anticipated. These and many others are as a result of the changes we are seeing in our climate. In order to state the causes, effect and ways of preventing climate change I appeal to you to provide me a space in your esteemed newspaper, the Ghanaian times to express my views on the aforementioned topics.

To begin, I want to talk about climate change in the forestry sector. In other words, forestry is defined as a land where plants dominate with surrounding animals and water bodies.
The main cause of climate change is deforestation. Deforestation is the cutting down of trees without replanting them. The agents responsible for deforestation are galamsey operators. The word ‘Galamsey’ was derived from the phrase, ‘gather and sell’. This activity involves clearing of trees before getting what they want. The main reason why I did not talk about the legal mining operations is that, they use appropriate machines which detect the right place where the mineral is found and after that they replant the trees cut down. But for illegal mining or galamsey they only have little knowledge in locating gold on a piece of land thereby cutting off the trees and destroying water bodies all in the quest for gold. For example, Tarkwa Nsuaem, which is known as a place rich in minerals is really crying upon the government to help them eliminate illegal miners in and around the place since all the trees that surround the community and water bodies are being cut down. Again, they are facing climate issues since their water bodies dry off and also feel direct heat from the sun.
Additionally, illegal chainsaw operators are also involved in the practice of deforestation where they do not replant felled trees. They only think about their stomach-what they will eat and money for their families. These actions in turn will pose a huge threat on the forest we have in Ghana, now and in the near future.

Another cause of climate change is forestry bushfires. Some farmers do not create fire belts and burning bushes in their farms. The only light the matches which is on a dry lease and walk away not considering what will happen when the fire is left alone. Some farmers are so illiterate to the extent that they do not have any knowledge in the aspect of effect of bush burning.

Also, Hunters who use fire to catch Bush animals or to trap animals do not follow the safety measures to avoid Bush burning. A typical example is Kwame Danso and Atebubu in the Bono East and Banda in the Bono Regions have been suffering from bush burning attributed to the same cause.
In addition, leftover pieces of cigarettes which is not put off in bushes result in bush burning, We are all aware that about 95% of people who smoke in Ghana do it in the bush to hide from families and authorities and this has resulted in bush burning which destroy and kill plant cells and harm wild animals in the bushes.

Furthermore, I have talked much about the causes of climate change let’s move to the effects. You can determine the effects of bush burning and deforestation by yourself. Some are, first, it endangers species. Bush burning and deforestation kill animals in the forest. In 1983 there was a bushfire in Dormaa Ahenkro which wiped out a huge number of elephants and wild Guinea fowls from the area. Dormaa’s Forest was recorded as one of the towns that had lots of elephants in the early seventies but now, they are all dead due to the fire outbreak that occurred. Though they did not find the root cause of the fire, it was very likely that the fire started as a result of a piece of cigarette left in the forest.

In addition to the effects of deforestation and Bush burning, drought is one of the natural disasters that can kill many people at a given time. When trees are cut down, it exposes water bodies to the sun to make the water evaporate into the atmosphere. Again, it brings about famine or crops dry off and wither due to the loss of water and also transpiration occur so the plants do not get enough water to undergo photosynthesis thereby, killing the plants.

Lastly the air becomes very hot due to greenhouse effect. Greenhouse effect is the increase in temperature of the surface surrounding the earth by greenhouse gases. According to a recent study, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 0.3% but now, it has risen to 0.4%, which means the carbon content in the atmosphere is rising. This is because the trees that were trapping the extra carbon dioxide are no more.

Due to this, when carbon compounds are released into the atmosphere, they suspend since the number of trees needed to trap the carbon dioxide have been decreased. There are many effects of deforestation and bush burning but the few ones are the above listed.
The best way of prevention of these climate issues in order to eliminate climate change is through education. Without education one cannot afforestate. The general public must be educated on the need to avoid deforestation and Bush burning. They must also be educated on the importance of trees in the environment. The general public must be educated and the law must be enforced to detest people from cutting down trees without replanting.

Also, victims must be arrested to serve as lessons to others. Afforestation will help eradicate climate change. Afforestation is the planting of trees at areas without any trees. This works hand-in-hand with reafforestation which is the replacement of fell trees to eliminate climate change.

Farmers must create fire belts in order to avoid bush burning. The above are some of the best ways through which climate change can be eliminated or minimised. To conclude, I hope you will use your best media platform to study the above solutions and see to their implementations.

Thank you.
Adomhene Adane Ankomah.
Sunyani.



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