Addressing the Menace of Illegal Mining – Contribution of CSIR-FORIG
The boom in small scale mining operations, popularly known as ‘galamsey’, is fast becoming one of the major factors contributing to the rapid decline of forest resources in Ghana. Forests play important roles in the maintenance and provision of goods and services that are beneficial to all segments of society. As a natural resource pool, forests store and recycle nutrients, protect land and water resources, provide valuable genetic resources and habitats for wildlife. In Ghana, the forestry sector contributes about 2-3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), down from about 10% a decade ago (FDMP, 2016). Nonetheless, the forestry sector provides direct employment to over 100,000 Ghanaians and indirect employment to over 2.5 million people (GSS, 2014). In addition, timber exports earn the country about US$180 million per annum, which accounts for about 1.5% of total exports (FDMP, 2016). Despite these benefits derived from the forestry sector, forests in Ghana are under serious threat partly due to deforestation and forest degradation.