Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor has urged every Ghanaian student to plant a tree each on June 10 during the Green Ghana Day, grow it and nurture it to maturity.

All arrangements, he indicated, have been made for the distribution of seedlings of various tree species to various schools across the country.

Mr. Jinapor also appealed to all heads of Senior High Schools (SHSs) to actively participate in this very important national exercise.

“We are confident that this project and others will contribute significantly to the realisation of the President’s vision to build a sustainable environmentally sound and Green Ghana”, he stated.

Mr. Jinapor made the call in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio at the launch of the 2022 Edition of the ‘One Student, One Tree’ Initiative at the Aggrey Memorial AME Zion SHS in Cape Coast in the Central Region.

The launch was part of the impending Green Ghana Day set for June 10 to encourage students to develop the habit of planting trees and nurturing them to maturity as part of efforts to restore the lost forest cover.

Forest resources, Mr. Jinapor explained, provide vital roles in the lives of mankind namely prevent erosion, protect water bodies from siltation and drying up, provide medicinal plants, habitats for wildlife, serve as wind breaks, regulate atmospheric temperature and climate change, provide income in the sale of forest products and eco-tourism, provide raw materials for construction, provide clean air for our good health, provides employment and also food including bush-meat.

Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources planting a tree with a student

According to him, more than 85 percent of the Ghanaian population depend on the forest resources for subsistence and to satisfy their socio-cultural needs.

“Unfortunately, in spite of the numerous benefits derived from the forest, the exploitation of these resources for national development have not been sustainable over the years.

“The world’s forest and, particularly, tropical forests, are being depleted at an alarming rate, with some estimated ten million hectares of primary tropical forest loss in 2020 alone.

“Here in Ghana, some eight million hectares of forest has been lost since 1900 and the degradation of the forest has serious implications for climate change, which has dire consequences to the livelihood of mankind and hence the urgent need to make conscious efforts to reverse the trend,” the Minister added.

According to Mr. Jinapor, the good news is that to reduce the effects of climate change, forests and nature-based solutions are the quickest and most cost-effective approach.

This, he said, is because forests operate as the lungs of the earth, sequestering and storing carbon dioxide, a crucial greenhouse gas in the fight against climate change.

He noted that in the light of the importance of forests President Akufo-Addo in June 2021 launched the maiden edition of the Green Ghana Day as part of an aggressive afforestation /reforestation strategy to restore the lost forest cover and contribute to global efforts to fight climate change.

The target for last year, he recalled, was five million tree seedlings but at the end of the programme 10 million seedlings were planted across the country.

He disclosed that the target for this year’s Green Ghana Day under the theme ‘Mobilizing for a Greener Future’ is to plant, at least, 20 million trees across the country.

He stated that as the recognised future leaders, students have a huge stake and a duty to participate in the exercise to build a sustainable environmentally sound and Green Ghana.

“We have a collective duty as Ghanaians to leave future generations and their communities with richer, better, more valuable forest and wildlife endowments than we inherited,” he added.