Target: Dr. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana
Goal: Save bird populations from illegal logging.
The combination of legal and illegal logging in Ghana’s rainforests are decimating bird populations. Illegal logging practices have been steadily occurring for the past 15 years, thereby increasing rates of deforestation and wildlife devastation. Recent research has found that from 1995 and 2010, logging in Ghana increased by more than 600 percent and 80 percent of the timber extracted was obtained illegally. Additionally, understory bird populations (the birds that reside beneath the forest canopy) fell by more than 50 percent in that same time frame. We must protect these precious bird populations from such damaging and illegal operations.
It is apparent that such intensive illegal logging does not support a sustainable understory bird population. One species in particular, the icterine greenbul, declined by more than 90 percent during the aforementioned time period. At the current rate of decline, understory bird populations might be nonexistent by 2025.
However, there has been some progress in the battle against illegal loggers. A tracking system for the timber is currently being implemented, and, as a more direct intervention, roadblocks are being dug to prevent illegal loggers from entering certain areas. Yet, for the most part, roads into the rainforests of Ghana are left open and have few, if any, guards protecting the entrances. Nicole Arcilla and her team of researchers suggested that hiring more forest rangers, as well as adopting stricter enforcement of forest laws, may have a positive effect on the current illegal practices.
The rates at which timber is being extracted from Ghana’s rainforests is detrimental to understory bird populations. Please sign the petition below in order to urge Ghana’s President to update the Ministry of Environment & Science’s regulations to better prevent current illegal logging practices in the hopes of protecting wildlife.
Dear President Mahama,
Bird populations are suffering in Ghana’s rainforests. I feel that more steps need to be taken in order to eliminate illegal logging, a practice which is directly affecting the wildlife. Understory bird populations in particular are drastically declining as a direct result from the logging crisis. From 1995 to 2010, over half of the bird population was decimated from your forests due to the combination of legal and illegal logging. The birds and other wildlife that reside in the rainforests of Ghana should not be subjected to such intensive deforestation.
I urge you to please work with your country’s Ministry of Environment and Science to employ more forest rangers to protect the entrances to the forests, which is how illegal loggers are gaining access inside. Those found to be extracting and/or distributing timber illegally should face strict punishment. Additionally, it is vital that stricter enforcement also be placed upon legal loggers as well. Please take action to protect Ghana’s wildlife.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones