To address the effects of environmental degradation of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve in Ghana, Wolfs Company and IVM were commissioned by IUCN NL and A Rocha Ghana to conduct a socioeconomic assessment of the tropical forest and its river basins. The Atewa Range is nationally regarded as an important area because it functions as the source of three rivers: the Ayensu, the Densu and the Birim. These rivers provide fresh water to the majority of the inhabitants of the Eastern and Great Accra Regions, as well as industrial and agricultural activities. Furthermore, the area provides a range of other ecosystem services that provide livelihoods for local communities.
Despite of the abundant benefits that are provided by the ecosystem, the rate of deforestation has accelerated over the past few decades due to a number pressures: an increase in farming, illegal logging, (illegal) artisanal gold mining, illegal hunting for bush meat, timber exploitation, and consumption and trade in non-timber forest products. Also, there is a latent but serious threat to the ecosystem because of the potential for large-scale bauxite mining and quarrying.
The final report was officially launched on November 9, 2016 by the Ghanaian Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Nii Osah Mills at the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana. The research creates insights in the value of key ecosystem services that are relevant for local communities and downstream beneficiaries and how these are affected in different land-use scenarios. Results of the analysis indicate that conserving the forest and its watersheds will provide higher long-term benefits compared to exploitation of the area for mineral resources.
For more information about conservation of the Atewa Forest: http://www.saveatiwa.com.gh/