atewa_forest_photo_jan_willem_den_besten

This article was originally published on IUCN NL


“Changing the protection status of the Atewa forest range in Ghana to a national park with surrounding buffer zone is the most economically beneficial outcome. This is indicated by an ecosystem valuation study presented at the Dutch Embassy in Ghana today.

The study was commissioned by IUCN NL and A Rocha Ghana and prepared by the Institute for Environmental Studies at the VU University Amsterdam and Wolfs Company in collaboration with local Ghanaian organizations. The study shows the societal costs and benefits of economic development in the Atewa range. Not only is this forest range north of capital Accra an internationally recognized unique piece of nature, it also provides water to more than a million people in Ghana and supports the livelihoods of local communities living on the forest fringes. However, the forest is steadily degrading due to timber and non-timber harvesting, hunting and the encroachment of farms and gold mines.

The study demonstrates the costs and benefits in economics terms of current developments in the Atewa Range compared to potential alternatives. Beside the direct economic benefits from things like goldmining or timber harvesting, the study also takes into account the value of ecosystem services provided by the forest such as clean water and carbon storage. The study shows how values increase or decrease under different development scenarios and which stakeholders benefit or suffer from this changes.

“…Gabriel Opoku-Asare, Director Corporate Relations at Guiness Ghana Breweries Ltd would be happy to see the protection status of the Atewa range increased, saying: “The quality and quantity of the water we use depends on the protection of the watersheds from the upstream though the downstream. Hence we have a role to play in turning the Atewa forest into a National Park. This will ensure less cost on improving quality and availability at all times. We will recommend the swift change of the status of Atewa forest into a National Park for the benefit of government, communities and businesses like ours.”…”

Read on at: IUCN NL