A new device to track illegal logging from the country’s forests has been deployed to curb the incidence of illegal exploitation of timber resources. When fed with the documen­tation of the logs, Xylorix Pocket Wood, the App/device, will quickly scan them and give off the information about the woods being carried or conveyed. It was developed by Dr Emmanuel Ebanyenle, a wood anatomist at the Forestry Re­search Institute of Ghana of the Council for Scientific and Indus­trial Research (CSIR-FORIG). As a result of the new tech­nology, 198 customs officers, grading and inspection officers at the department of the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) and Civil Society Organ­isations (CSOs) have been trained on the use of the device. The development of the device was sponsored by the US Forest Service in collaboration with Agritex, Forestry Commission and CSIR. According to Dr Ebanyenle, the next stage of the App, which is being developed, would enable the detection of the origin of the woods for instance rosewood from the forests of Ghana etc. Speaking to the Ghanaian Times at the sideline of the 2023 end-of-year send-off and awards ceremony of the CSIR-FORIG, Dr Ebanyenle explained illegal logging as any wood acquired through “harvesting, transport­ing, processing” that did not follow the law. Illegal logging, he said, was in­deed ruining the economy of the country, though he could not give specifics, he was full of hope that the App would stem the tide.
Dr Emmanuel Ebanyenle, a wood anatomist
Dr Ebanyenle was among some 10 scientists who were hon­oured during the awards ceremo­ny for his contribution towards Ghana’s forest sustainability. Prof. Daniel A. Ofori, Di­rector, CSIR-FORIG, in an interview in connection with the device, mentioned that the rate of forest degradation and deforestation in the country was very alarming largely due to illegal logging, slash and burn agriculture, wildlife, unsustainable mining practices, urbanization, among the lots. He indicated that 126,521.8 hectares of forest plantations was established between 2016-2022. Additionally, he said enrich­ment planting was undertaken over an area of 23,176.2 hectares while 20,225,476 tree seedlings were distributed for planting within farms during the period of implementation. “But while efforts are being made to manage the landscape in a sustainable manner, others will also engage in illegal logging activities to undermine the resto­ration programme,” he added. He was hopeful the device would bring to an end illegal logging in the country.