Communities along the Western Wildlife Corridor have been empowered through the formation, training and strengthening of the
Community Resources Management Areas (CREMA) to sustainably manage and protect the natural reserves and resources from depletion.
This is part of an integrated approach with a focus on biodiversity conservation to promote green value chains and build resilient communities to sustainably manage the environment and help restore degraded landscapes, forest reserves and wildlife.
The global programme is being spearheaded by the Organisation for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS-Ghana) with support from the Noe ECONOBIO, a french based organisation and benefiting 10 communities in two regions.
The communities are Kayoro (Wuru and Baliu), Katiu and Nakong in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region and Kunchogo, Kwapun, Wuru, Pudo, Banu and Basissan in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region.
The Western Wildlife Corridor which provides protection to the Sissili River is part of the Mole Landscape linking the Mole National Park and the Nazinga Game Ranch and serves as a travelling path for wild animals from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso into Ghana and vice versa.
Over the years, due to major pressures on the environment such as illegal mining and logging, agricultural activities, poaching, and high pastoralism among others,
the corridor was being degraded, destruction to economic trees such as shea and baobab, putting the livelihood of the rural communities at risk.
Mr Clifford Adagnera Amoah, Programmes Manager, ORGIIS-Ghana, said apart from the destruction to the ecosystem and habitat for wildlife leading to extinction, the situation was breeding conflict among community leaders.
He said there was the need for concerted and territorial inclusive management through developing sustainable economic activities to benefit the local communities and aid when the local people had alternatives to their livelihood they would take ownership and sustainably manage the environment.
“The development of economic activities such as shea butter, honey and beeswax and baobab value chains backed by improvement in ecosystem services such conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stock through tree planting and the preservation of water resources of the Sissili River will contribute to the creation of decent jobs, reduction in poverty and inequalities and promote gender equality and ultimately improvement in biodiversity,” he said.
He said apart from sensitising and supporting the communities with logistics, Community Resources Management Committees had also been formed to work with the CREMA executives and other stakeholders to preserve the environment.
Mr Julius Awaregya, Executive Director, ORGIIS-Ghana, through the CREMA, the trees would be regenerated and contribute to mitigating climate change impact and ensuring food and nutritional security.
Mr Emmanuel Owusu, Forestry Commission Manager in charge of Western Forest reserves of the Upper East Region, said the destruction of the reserves posed danger to livelihoods and appealed to the traditional authorities to join the fight to sustainably manage and explore the resources for sustainable development.
Pe Joseph Banapeh Afagachie II, Paramount Chief of Nakong Traditional Area, said the human attitude was a major factor hindering the efforts to protect the environment and called for policy intervention that included a traditional system of environmental management.