EcoPlanet Bamboo Expands In Ghana, Promises To​ Restore ​Degraded Ecosystem

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - ​ Africa is a global leader in deforestation. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)​, the ​African continent loses over four million hectares (9.9 million acres) of natural forest ​every year​, ​which is twice as much the global average.

To help fight the problem with a dose of 'conscious capitalism', business and environmentalists alike believe bamboo plantations can make a valuable contribution, on an environmental, social as well as economic level.

Bamboo plantations are seen by many as a viable, sustainable source of source of fiber for timber industries that often harvest their raw materials from forests. In other words, it can help fight deforestation by creating a sustainable, economically appealing alternative.

​​EcoPlanet Bamboo​, an international company that owns certified sustainable plantations in Nicaragua and South Africa and whose ethos is based on the concept of conscious capitalism, has announced it is expanding its operations in Ghana with a new, long-term lease that will see a three-fold expansion ​of its current area ​to 26,000 acres (10,500 hectares)​ in the Ashanti region in the north of the country​.

The company says ​this expanded area will​ ​​help restore a highly degraded ecosystem in a commercially viable manner. ​It conserves remnant patches of forest and native vegetation, establishing a full canopy to secure critical ecosystem functions, while at the same time creating a sustainable bio-based economy of raw fiber.

The agreement was signed under a Public Private Partnership with the Government of Ghana, through the Ghana Forestry Commission (GFC). It is an example of how a public-private partnership can potentially benefit a range of stakeholders and help the country meet its environmental commitments and economic goals.

“This expanded area allows EcoPlanet Bamboo to focus on Ghana as the site of our first closed loop, low footprint, bamboo based bio-refinery, while restoring an entire forest ecosystem​,​” CEO Troy Wiseman​ said in a statement​. “Once mature the integrated ecosystem will yield more than 700,000 tons of raw fiber a year, sufficient for the production of a tree free, deforestation free pulp, and securing more than 1,500 jobs in an area suffering from extreme rural poverty.”

​EcoPlanet Bamboo​ says its ethos is to collaborate closely with local communities with focus on long-term job creation and economic independence. ​This approach has attracted kudos to the company: it received the ​​prestigious IAIR Sustainability Awards ​2013 ​as Best Company For Sustainability (North America).​​

Image credit: EcoPlanet Bamboo