The Gbele resource reserve is currently under siege of massive harvest from rosewood loggers affecting other resources in the reserve. The loggers activities has led to a public outcry suspecting compromise by leadership following the renewal by alleged permits.
The Gbele Resource Reserve is among the fine wildlife reserves in Ghana. Gbele Resource Reserve is a beautiful scenery natural park located in the Upper West Region of the Ghana. The Gbele Resource and Game Reserves is in Gbele near Dessima along the Fian-Wa –Tumu-Navrongo highway. The Game reserve has a savannah woodland vegetation. There are numerous breeds of bird at Gbele and forms a wonderful scenery for your viewing pleasure. The Gbele Reserve Ghana covers a 565 square metre area. Over 190 different species are estimated to be resident in the Gbele Resource reserve.
Fun things to do at Gbele reserve include bird-watching, spotting game, hiking, taking walks and a guided tour of the facility may soon be hampered by persistent tree cutting which have led to extinction of both fona and fauna. Water bodies have dried up coupled with bush burning and rosewood harvest that have been extended to other economic trees
With only 17 staff strength monitoring has become a challenge and threat of life by marauding log merchants who can go every strength to undertake lumbering. Water bodies in and around the reserve have all dwindled due to reduced rainfall in recent times.
In Desima alone, 270 logs of fresh rosewood have currently been removed from the vegetation of the reserve now gathered at the Desima Basic School without owners. Other parts of both Sissala East and West communities have received dozens of these loggers since the past four years. Efforts by the Game and Wildlife division to find the perpetrators is without success. The Park Manager Mr Owusu Ansah says the community is tight lipped over who harvested them even though investigations are ongoing.
Four persons who encroached the Gbele reserve are also at the Tumu Police Station awaiting trials. The Park Manager who phoned onto RadfordFM Masie Breakfast show Monday morning says he is worried because “there exist a gap between what the community wants in three layers: community interest, commercial interest promoted by timber merchants and the third one being regulators interest”. This, he says is making the work difficult for the Forestry Commission as a regulator as community members are now fronting for the loggers. The park manager is surprised why community members are not scrutinizing the permit to harvest rosewood and supporting them to degrade the forest reserve. This will leave them with no reserve in future as many of the mammals, water bodies are all getting extinct.
Meanwhile when RadfordFM called Mr. Jasper Yao Dunya, the District Forestry Officer, he told listeners the permit was issued by the CEO of the Forestry commission for him to implement regardless of the decision by the Upper West regional coordinating council of the area closeness to the desert.
Mr. Jasper added the exercise will go on until December but could not tell the quantity of volumes expected to be salvaged and was dismissive about who might have convinced the offices in Accra to permit companies to log rosewood in an area near to a desert, when the host made that assertion to him.
The Police told Masie Breakfast Show six persons are in their custody who will be put before the court in the week. Just when the police commander was in the studios of RadfordFM this morning, reports of fresh cutting was going on in Dimajang. The police says they will arrest anyone found to be engaged in cutting unless otherwise. ASP Abanga says the land owners may have to join as they are cashing on this scandal.
The Member of Parliament for Sissala East Hon Ridwan Abass on Masie Breakfast Show dared anyone who has given him money to harvest rosewood should come forward and name and shame any leader behind this. He tasked the Police to arrest anyone found to be involved in the illicit logging but called on the leaders of the community to also start the campaign from their communities.
Leadership we spoke to after we mentioned they have been compromised all back moves to have these people removed from the area but maintain it has to be community –led.
Robert Baka and Solomon Salia Mwangu blamed unnecessary bureaucracy for the menace. “If you are not able to fight the downward spread of the Sahara don’t accelerate it”. “It’s an insult to our traditional leaders for permits to be given without recourse to traditional leaders or the DCE of the area, is it because they think the North is a small place and are vulnerable to the little cash donations they entice them with”.
RadfordFM was and has been critical of rosewood harvest in the area in view of its proximity to the desert but in what appears to be ‘salvage permits’ issued by the forestry commission is leading to unbridled harvest of major tree species in the Sissala area that will cause the Gbele resource reserve to die.