A huge problem we are facing as a country is forest encroachment and desertification. Forest encroachment has to do with the destruction of forest areas for the advancement of schools, hospitals, roads, and other development. Forest encroachment happens as a result of poverty and outrageous population pressure. Desertification refers to a yielding land that loses its vegetation and ultimately becomes a desert. This means that there are no nutrients on the land and the land is no longer productive.
Ghana is an agrarian economy. This means that a large fraction of the income of individuals in the country is from agriculture. There are lots of arable lands in Ghana. People in the rural areas usually farm on these lands. Others engage in fishing especially on the coast or in the southern part of the country. There are two seasons in Ghana. These are the rainy season and the dry season. For most parts of the year, in the southern, eastern, and western parts of Ghana, the forest is green. The vegetation in the country is soothing to the mind, body, and soul. Specific foodstuffs at this time of the year are affordable and fresh. In the northern part of the country, aside from the wet season, the ground is hard and very dry. This makes it difficult to cultivate anything till the rains come.
Most of the forest encroachment happens in the capital of Ghana, Accra as well as towns that are not too far from Accra. Due to the population pressure in the capital, individuals cut down trees and forest areas to construct buildings and structures for their selfish gains. Some of these individuals pretend to give reasons such as the provision of employment to individuals and providing safe housing to people when in reality, they only want to make their pockets heavier. The destruction of these forest areas leaves with little to no ground to cultivate crops on. The consequences of forest encroachment are high costs of land for cultivation or farming as well as habitat destruction for birds and other animals.
Desertification renders the land useless. A land that has become a desert cannot be used for anything useful. Desertification is caused by human activities or nature. Agricultural activities that kill the nutrients in the land are one. Bush burning and overgrazing by animals are some others. These lead to severe cases of air pollution from the dust on these lands, hunger, or long episodes of droughts.
We must find drastic measures to forest encroachment. Some of these measures include establishing forest reserves and national parks and using various forms of energy sources such as solar and biogas to help reduce the cutting down of trees for fuel. This helps in the preservation of the forest and reduction in the pollution of air.
Planting new trees will help with the issue of desertification. The land must be used with various farming methods and techniques to retain its nutrients. Burning must be prohibited. At worst, minimized. Animals that graze on the land must be stopped. They end up destroying the land. The right fertilizers must be used. There should be the creation of a community empowerment initiative that empowers the citizens of the community to set sanctions for individuals who destroy the land by using harmful farming methods amongst others.