Community Resources Management Area (CREMA)
This project is under the "Ensuring Environmental Security and Livelihoods" through an Ecosystem Approach for Community Resources Management Areas (CREMAs) at the Weto Mountain Range in the Volta Region of Ghana.
The CREMA seeks to address the problems of ecosystem degradation in the Weto Mountain area, which is an international priority biodiversity area. Biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services of the Weto range are disappearing at alarming rates and the benefits associated with natural resources are gradually eroding due to overexploitation and the absence of mechanisms for community supported management. At the current rate of deforestation and accompanied environmental degradation and the attendant habitat loss, it is alarming; that many rare species of flora and fauna within this ecosystem will be extinct before discovery. A report in 2012 showed Ghana’s forest has drastically reduced from 8.2 million hectares to 1.7. There is a loss of soil fertility, which leads to high migration of youth to nearby cities in search of employment. Furthermore, the effects of climate change have a significant impact on agriculture and food production and related natural resource sectors, giving rise to food insecurity. Additionally, the natural resource base is not managed properly, although Ghana is an agrarian economy with as high as 60% of the working population employed in the agriculture sector.
The main objective is to develop 5 different CREMAS, in order to secure ecosystem benefits and the livelihoods of the dependent communities in a participatory manner.
As at the end of June this year, CREMA has raised and distributed over 100,000 seedlings of timber products, non-timber forest products and cocoa (including Mahogony, Ofram and some Avocado). Capacity building has been completed with training in communities on proper agriculture practices, proper crop cultivation, methods of growing cocoa and climate change adaptation. About 18 communities have acquired appreciable knowledge and awareness in management of their natural resources. Community members now appreciate the benefits of growing trees on their farms and understand that if the degradation occurring were curbed, productivity would increase. Community fire volunteer training has been completed in several communities and will continue in others, which is important considering the area is prone to bush fires. Additionally, a baseline survey on the project area is ongoing, which feeds a lot of the other activities. With the completion of final reports from consultants, a biodiversity policy should be developed with district assemblies, as well as by-laws on forest ecosystem management.
It is hoped that CREMA communities would have been adequately supported to develop and implement plans for sustaining ecosystem services – ecosystem values of 25,000ha of CREMA are conserved and sustained. The project is also expected to result in improved environmental security, multiple sustainable land use management practices, and improved livelihoods, build communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change, and enhance their greater participation decision making.
Project Duration: Began - 01/07/2012; Ends – 30/06/2015
Local Partners: Environmental Protection Agency, District Assemblies, Forestry Commission, Ecosystem Alliance (partners in implementation) and Fire Service Division.