ARG kick-starts project to protect threatened tree species in Atewa Forest

A Rocha Ghana, in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute (PGRRI) with funding support from the Fondation Franklinia has launched a project to strengthen the conservation of threatened tree species in Ghana.

The project dubbed “The strengthening knowledge and action on Atewa forest’s significance for protecting globally threatened tree species, critical ecosystems, and ecosystem service provision project” to be implemented in and around the Atewa Range Forest reserve seeks to increase knowledge on 19 targeted threatened and near-endemic tree species.

Threatened trees

These threatened target trees are being lost due to illegal activities reported to be present within the Atewa Forest. These species include Abaku/Baku (Tieghemella heckelii), Duatadwekese (Aubregrina taiensis) and Dodo-wa (Cola boxiana).


The launch

The official launch of the project which took place on Thursday, August 17, 2023 at the Abuakwa South District Assembly Hall, saw  stakeholders from the MMDAs (Abuakwa South, Atiwa West and Fanteakwa South), Academia (University of Environment and Sustainable Development, University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies), Regulatory Agencies (Forestry Services Division, Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana), Traditional Authorities from the project communities (Obuoho, Potroase, Owuretwum, Sagyimase, Apampatia and Dompem) and the PGRRI gracing the occasion.

In a welcome address, Director for CSIR-PGRRI, Dr. Daniel Ashie Kotey , highlighted how some near endemic species such as Tieghemella heckelii locally known as Abaku/Baku are gradually being lost due to illegal activities. He stressed on the importance of the project and commended the collaboration between A Rocha Ghana and the PGRRI.

Dr. Kortey entreated participants to contribute and ask for clarification on issues that they did not understand for the success of the implementation.  

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Isaac Ayamga, a representative from the Abuakwa South Municipal Assembly acknowledged the municipality is faced with several challenges including illegal mining, logging and bad farming practices which has led to a lot of species facing extinction. He thus commended the initiative and also the partnership with the PGRRI and the Forestry Commission.


CSOs Demand Revocation of Retrogressive Mining in Forest Reserves L.I 2462

On August 1 and 2, 2023, a coalition of environmental NGOs hit the streets, targeting the Parliament of Ghana and the Minerals Resources Commission, to demand the repeal of the newly passed Legislative Instrument (LI) 2462, which puts no restriction on mining in all of Ghana’s forest reserves. The action also raised concerns about the way mining-related permits are leading to the destruction of Ghana’s forest reserves and the pollution of water bodies.

The NGOs are A Rocha Ghana, Eco-Conscious Citizens, Youth Alliance Green Ghana, Ghana Youth Environment Movement, Ghana Environment Advocacy Group, Atronsu Farmers and Youth Anti Community/Small-scale Mining Group, Daby Foundation, SOY Africa, Youth Volunteers for the Environment, and AbibiNsroma Foundation.

Passing of the retrogressive L.I. 2462

In November 2022, a new legal instrument, L.I. 2462, ‘Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations, was quietly passed. Civil society only became aware of this clandestine action by the EPA and government in March 2023.

At a press conference organised on June 9, the Deputy National Coordinator of A Rocha Ghana, Daryl Bosu, read out a press statement on the way the L.I. was passed and its implications for the environment.

“In November 2022, a new legal instrument, L.I. 2462, ‘Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations’ was quietly passed. Civil society only became aware of this by the EPA and government in March 2023.

While the 2018 ‘Environmental Guidelines for Mining in Production Forest Reserves in Ghana’ that preceded the L.I. allowed a maximum of 2% of the production areas of
forest reserves to be mined, the new regulations have no such restriction. Consequently, after the L.I.2462 was passed, mining permits covering large portions of forest reserves, including Nkrabia, Boin Tano, Anhwiaso East, and Tano Anwi have been granted.

Pickets to continue

The NGOs demand that all forests reserves must be fully protected from all mining, both government-licenced and galamsey; otherwise, their integrity will be lost. Further actions are expected to continue at other government agencies in the coming weeks.


Beating plastic pollution: making schools more recycling-friendly within Accra

In Ghana, single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, and bottles, have become an enduring menace that affects the environment and biodiversity. Approximately 5% of plastic waste is collected for recycling each year, with the rest finding its way into landfills and the ocean.

To contribute to addressing this menace, A Rocha Ghana, in partnership with SESA Recycling, has collaborated to bring awareness and the practicality of recycling and upcycling to over 15 schools across the Greater Accra region. The project, which comes off initiative which forms part of A Rocha Ghana’s school’s environmental education programme, seeks to tackle the issues of single-use plastic and its effects on the environment under the thematic area of addressing pollution.

In support of the program, the schools were presented with segregation also given receptacle bins and jumbo sacks by the Coca-Cola bottling company in Ghana and individuals.

Understanding plastics

During the school engagements various resources, including presentations and using citizen science approaches such as ‘’the plastic detective’’ were deployed. This helped gauge student’s awareness of and knowledge of the kinds of plastics in the system and proper identification, proportion of single-use plastics, their contribution to plastic pollution and its negative impact on the environment.

The 4 R’s

The separation, crush and drop exercise, in which student’s 

separate plastic bottles and sachet water rubbers to be collected in the segregation receptacles was then used to educate the students on how to properly handle their plastics using the 4 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and on how to 

properly use their receptacle.  These plastics would then be weighed and collected by SESA

The students and schools participated with great excitement and pledged to help make their school and Accra cleaner.

Alongside this ongoing programme, in order to beat plastic pollution, upcycling art sessions will be conducted with selected schools led by sustainability artist SAhadji, in collaboration with the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Ghana and Osei-Duro. Long-term goals include promoting mental shifts, advancing climate action against plastic pollution, and enhancing the local environment.