Reveals District Commissioner Dekruah
One of Nimba’s largest forests, the Gio National Forest, which is located in the southeastern part of the county, is now under threat from local farmers and residents farming near the forest, Jonathan Kekruah, District Commissioner of Boe Quellah Administrative District, has disclosed.
The forest is situated between Tappita, Toweh Town and is adjacent to the road connecting the southeast from Tappita and the Kparblee Administrative District.
It is believed to have some endangered species, including several exotic kinds of deer, and was the forest to which elephants once migrated during the latter part of last year.
Commissioner Dekruah said that the situation is becoming uncontrollable, because locals do not adhere to any forest law or allow any demarcation isolating the park.
He said USAID (United States Agency for International Development) funded PROSPER, carried out some demarcations some years ago, besides the 1952 demarcation, but the locals, rushing to get farmlands, are not considering the current and previous demarcations.
“Many of those encroaching on the forest are residents from distant communities, because they claimed the forest is a government land,” Commissioner Dekruah said.
Nimba County has several national forests, including the Gio National Forest, with one being the Nimba Nature Reserve. Others are the Gbi Forest, West Nimba, and the East Nimba Nature Reserve.
One of the forest areas near Mount Nimba, which is also known as West Nimba, is being placed under the protection of local communities. It has been renamed as the Gbar Community Forest.
The same was done to the Gio Forest, where communities were trained by PROSPER to take ownership as was done with those living around West Nimba, but the citizens appeared not to be respecting the community forest rule.
The Commissioner complained about random planting of cash crops within the forest, something he said was going out of hand.
Dekrauh has therefore appealed to those encroaching on the forest to stop or else he will take drastic administrative and legal action against any intruders.
Liberia has about 48 percent of forest in the upper Guinea ecosystem, but most of these areas are said to be threatened by farming, mining, and logging activities, according to Liberia 2005 Forest Re-assessment report.