Participatory approaches to sustainable management of Togo-Plateau forest reserve in the mid-Volta ecosystem
Participatory approaches to sustainable management of Togo-Plateau forest reserve in the mid-Volta ecosystem
Over the years, the Alavanyo, Nkonya and Bowri portion of the range has seen a rapid reduction in its forest cover. The causes of this deforestation are multiple. First, the range has provided fertile farmland for local farmers, but through non-sustainable agricultural practices, such as slash and burn and extensive farm rotation, trees are being cut down and the land is being degraded. Secondly, bush fires- both accidental and intended for hunting- have been a common culprit of deforestation and loss of wildlife and biodiversity. Lastly, the activities of chainsaw operators have done great destruction to the once heavily forested range.

This loss of forest cover has affected all other natural systems of the mountain range. The range serves as the watershed of streams whose water flows into river Dayi, a tributary feeding the Volta Lake. The depletion of the forest cover has also led to the perennial drying up of these streams and the resultant drop in the volume of their water discharge. Furthermore, hunting of animals for game and the loss of their habitat, has led to a decrease in the animal population. Animals like monkeys, duiker, wild boar, honey berger, antelope and some birds like parrots, owls, and woodpecker which used to be found there, are virtually absent today. The chainsaw operators and other human activities have destroyed trees like Odum, Mahogany, Ofram and herbal plants that are very useful to the people.

Another result of the loss of vegetation is the reduction in the amount of rainfall. The once savannah woodland of the plains has become grassland. As a result of this, the poverty rate among the communities is rising since they depend on the rain and the environment for livelihood and survival.
Additionally, the area is prone to landslides, and the memory of the slide that occurred in 1933 in Have, a community situated at the foothills of the range, is still in the citizens’ minds. Fortunately, no lives were lost due to this natural disaster; however, people need to become aware of their responsibility to protect this mountain range and repair the environmental degradation resulting from human activity, and to do their part in the prevention of additional disasters.

Through these destructive land-use practices we observe a negative cycle, since these communities will in turn increase the rate of destruction of the ecosystem. Citizens living near the mountain range are overly dependent on the environment for their livelihoods and sustainable alternatives must be made available to them.

To improve participatory approaches for sustainable forest reserve management in the Togo Plateau Forest Reserves.

The objectives of the project are:
i. To create awareness on the need to conserve the mountain resources and develop the capacities of the local population in sustainable management of the mountain range.
ii. To promote participatory community-based integrated natural resource management approaches.
iii. To introduce agroforestry and sustainable land management practices to the communities living at the foothills of the mountain.
iv. To support livelihood activities that are compatible with sustainable management of the mountain range.

Project Justification:

Over the years, Coalition of NGOs in Environment has held meetings with the Traditional Authorities of the communities and the Forest Services Division. It was agreed during these meetings that the environmental problems are alarming and that concerted efforts must be made to salvage the area. It was becoming increasingly critical that the role of local communities in natural resource management and biodiversity conservation in Ghana. It was widely acknowledged that the success and long-term sustainability of conservation initiatives depend on support and acceptance of such interventions by the local communities. It is also clear that local people will only support conservation initiatives if they see concrete benefits and improvements to the quality of their lives.

In the past, biodiversity conservation in Ghana was seen as the responsibility of the State, although the traditional authorities had constituted traditionally protected areas (sacred groves) for religious and cultural reasons. The traditionally protected areas are guided by traditional norms and regulations, which have, stand the test of time. Most rural Ghanaian depend largely on the traditionally protected areas for food, shelter, health, livelihoods and many other aspects of their existence. As a result, areas continue to be degraded and shrink in size. Some have even been converted into farm and other landuse. Most wild animal species are becoming increasingly threatened by the demand for bushmeat, and the local populations who depend on wildlife resources are becoming poorer and poorer.

Ghana has adopted a Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), which represents comprehensive policies to support growth and poverty reduction in the county. Under the strategy, the government intends to create wealth by transforming the structure of the national economy to achieve growth, accelerated poverty reduction and the protection of the vulnerable and excluded within a decentralized, democratic environment. The GPRS focuses on providing the enabling environment that will empower all Ghanaians to participate in wealth creation and to partake in the wealth created.
This project aims at supporting the strategic initiatives to support the GPRS by:
• Improving forest and wildlife resources through equitable sharing of management responsibilities and benefit flows to local stakeholders, especially the rural poor.
• Improving governance in the public sector such as participation, transparency and accountability.
• Mainstreaming collaborative resource management (CRM), by promoting the rights of farmers other marginalized groups building capacities and strengthening local organizations and institutions and
• Improving the community voice through the creation of a forestry fora network across the country to provide a space for interaction and give communities a voice; multi-stakeholder involvement in management planning; and the establishment of customer service centres in all the districts to improve service delivery.

Global Environment Benefits
The proposed project would result in multiple global, national, and local environment benefits, within the context of sustainable development. These benefits would include: (a) conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity of the mountain range ; (b) prevention and/or control of pollution of major river systems from illegal activities and domestic waste; (c) prevention and/or control of degradation of watersheds through unsustainable land use practices; (d) minimization of carbon emission from shifting agriculture and the use of inefficient wood stoves; (e) improvement in carbon sequestration through improvement of vegetation cover; (f) provision of alternative economic livelihoods for communities in the traditional area; (f) rise in community awareness levels in environmental management and conservation.

There are three main results expected with successful implementation, and will reflect the justification of the project:

1. CSOs participating in the project are trained in necessary skills and knowledge for Participatory Forest Reserve Management.
2. Strategic Plans which emphasize participation of local populations are drafted and implemented based on simplified draft Manual of Operation (MOP).
3. 300 ha degraded areas along the Reserve regenerated and the forest cover restored
4. Partnership between FSD and local populations for forest reserve management established through capacity development of fringe communities.

1st Quarter

1. 50ha of farm land at Sanga, Dededo Sawyer Kodzi and Tsito demarcated and placed under degraded forests for natural regeneration.

2. Site identified and negotiated for nursery.
Communities mobilized and cleared nursery site.
37 females and 23 males are members of the CNA nursery group.

3. 50 farm families were supported with skills and knowledge in organic farming to establish organic agro forestry farms as a means of livelihood. In addition five serious farmers were also supported financially with agro inputs such as cutlass, rain coats and organic fertilizers . This has enabled them to increase their farm yield, improved methods of farming as well as improved their health status due to the organic application and new modern way of farming.

4.40 teak seedlings and 40 mangoes was planted in four schools, namely M.A Primary School, Methodist School, Old J.H.S and Eli International School Complex at Tsito. 4 Schools were supported and supervised to plant teak seedling at their various schools. 20 students from each school participated in the planting with the supervision of a female teacher from each school and staff of CNA to serve as a wind belt.

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Project Snapshot

Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 21,200.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 13,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 18,000.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Inovative Financial Mechanisms
Adoption of certification standards in vegetable production
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
Alternative sustainable livelihood activities would be introduced to 200 farmers in the three traditional areas. The activities to be promoted are honey production, snail farming, grasscutter breeding, vegetable cultivation, mango grafting
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Number of globally significant species protected by project 5
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 200
Number of innovations or new technologies developed/applied 2
Number of local policies informed in biodiversity focal area 1
Number of national policies informed in biodiversity focal area 1
Number of CBOs / NGOs participated / involved in SGP project 1
Number of CBOs / NGOs formed or registered through the SGP project 1
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 50
Increase in household income by increased income or reduced costs due to SGP project 100
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 100

SGP Country office contact

Dr. George Buabin Ortsin
Ms. Lois Sarpong
+233 505740909


UNDP, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme P.O. Box 1423
Accra, Greater Accra, 233-302
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