Stray animals a threat to national tree planting exercise – Prof. Gordon

The Director of the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana, Professor Chris Gordon, has said one of the factors that may threaten the trees being planted across the country under the ‘Green Ghana Project’ is the phenomenon of stray animals in Ghana.

The government intends to plant five million trees today [Friday], June 11, to kick-start a campaign under its ‘Green Ghana Project’.

Ghanaians are being mobilised to plant trees on the day and nurture them to maturity as a way of contributing to the preservation of the environment.

Environmental factors that affect plant growth generally include light, temperature, water, humidity, and nutrition. It is therefore important to understand how these factors affect plant growth and development.

But according to Prof. Gordon, in the case of Ghana also, stray domestic animals like cattle, goats, and other animals pose the biggest threat to young seedlings.

Although Ghana’s bye-laws generally prohibit animals from wandering, enforcement of the laws by the various assemblies has been weak.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Prof. Chris Gordon stated that the Green Ghana Project is a great initiative while advising that an ordinance should be made to keep these stray animals from the streets and from wandering and grazing so openly.

“I think this is a fantastic initiative that I would say should be 50 million not five million trees. When you look at the amount that we lose annually, we need 50 million plantings every year to make up for the losses. At Legon, we had our own tree planting project which I was part of some years back. There were 50 of us, and we planted about 1,500 trees in one morning.”

“There is a point I would like to raise on this issue of concern, and the point is that we are planting these trees and somebody made a comment about cutting trees and things like that, but really the biggest danger to these trees is the animals which are free and wandering around. We have sheep, goats, cattle even in Accra, and the next thing you realise they will decimate all these young seedlings, so I think we have to look at this as a totality. Just as we have an ordinance that looks at how many trees you need to plant, we also must have an ordinance looking at how animals in these urban areas can be kept away from the roads and these trees,” he stated.

Prof. Gordon further stated that real estate companies need to consider tree planting in their plans, adding that there is the need for Ghanaians to also change their mindset in order to make this project a success.

“Somebody also raised the issue about real estate companies. You often see them fixing roads with no pavements for pedestrians to walk on, and they do not even leave a space between the houses and the roads for people to plant avenue trees. My fundamental issue is that we need to change our mindset away from car-friendly environment to ones which are people-friendly because what the car does is to add pollution to the environment, what the tree does is to take pollution out of the environment.”

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