By United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

A Rocha Ghana

Saving Atewa Forest

Ghana’s Safety Net for Climate Resilience

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The story of the Atewa Forest in the Eastern Region of Ghana, highlights the forest’s significance, the threats it faces, and how the forest can be saved for unborn generations.

The Atewa Forest (2020) by A Rocha GhanaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

The Atewa Forest

No ecosystem is more important in combating the effects of climate change than a rainforest. In Ghana, the Atewa Range Forest is doing exactly that.

The Atewa Forest (2020) by A Rocha GhanaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Lush Vegetation

Located in Ghana’s Eastern Region,  the Atewa Range Forest Reserve falls within the eastern end of the Guinean Forest eco-region. It is designated as one of the country’s Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas, due to its exceptional biological value.

The Atewa Forest (2021) by A Rocha GhanaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Protecting The Forest

The forest is so precious, it is also endowed with several other historical protection statuses including the legacy Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) status. Similarly, the forest now integrates the list of the world’s Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) sites.

Atewa is a hub for biodiversity (2021) by A Rocha GhanaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Atewa Is A Hub For Biodiversity

To date, Atewa forest hosts 1,134 plant species, 239 bird species...

Atewa is a hub for biodiversityUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

...69 mammals...

Atewa is a hub for biodiversity by A Rocha GhanaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

...40 amphibians, 14 reptiles... 

Atewa is a hub for biodiversityUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

...and 711 butterfly species. The butterflies within Atewa represent 77% of all butterfly species found in Ghana.

The forest houses several watershedsUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

The Forest Houses Several Watersheds

Most importantly, the Atewa Forest is the source of three major rivers in Ghana; the River Birim, the River Ayensu and the River Densu.

The Atewa Forest (2018) by A Rocha GhanaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Water Is An Invaluable Resource

Over 5 million Ghanaians depend on these rivers and their tributaries...

The forest houses several watershedsUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

...for water for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses.

Atewa builds climate resilienceUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Climate Resilience In The Face of Global Warming

A recent Wallace Initiative analysis highlighted that Atewa is among just 2% of globally ‘protected’ areas that are resilient to higher climate change scenarios worldwide, and the only resilient 'protected' forest in the Upper Guinean Forest eco-region.

The Atewa ForestUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

The Right Lung Of Ghana

Atewa's ecosystems produce and clean the air Ghanaians breathe, making Atewa the right lung of the entire nation.

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, 2012, Okyenhene of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area

Atewa Is Facing Threats

Like many other vulnerable rainforests, Atewa is under serious threat.

Atewa is facing threatsUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Illegal Activities In Atewa Forest

In addition to the desecration caused by illegal activities such as mining and logging,  the Ghanaian government has targeted Atewa for bauxite mining, which will turn this priceless biodiversity haven into a mine pit.

Atewa is facing threatsUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Threatened Natural Water Resources

Atewa’s water provision is vital for many regions of Ghana, and a life-line for its endemic species. 

Atewa is facing threatsUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

If  it is mined for bauxite, runoff from the operations will contaminate its three major rivers and streams and pollute the area with dangerous red dust. 

Atewa is facing threatsUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Eventually, the forest, its ecosystem services, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the rare species it is home to, may be lost forever.

CampaignUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Campaign

The planned mine development has met with local, national and international resistance.  The Atewa heroes walked 95km from their forest home to the seat of government carrying Atewa’s clean water to symbolise the forest’s significance.

CampaignUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

There is a clarion call to raise the status of Atewa from a Forest Reserve to a National Park. This would ensure long-term benefits of water, food security, biodiversity and climate services, with green ventures and green jobs for teeming communities and youth in the landscape.

CampaignUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

A National Park For Atewa

"Develop a national park at Atewa forest. The species that God has given us there are phenomenal but if we begin to look at gold and its recklessness of galamsey* and other things in the forest, we would never get there."

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, 2021

(*Galamsey is an expression from Ghana referring to illegal small-scale gold mining.)

Campaign (2018)United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Atewa Till Eternity

This song, by the Ambassadors of Atewa Forest Reserve, was produced to inspire efforts to protect the forest reserve as a National Park.

Green Development Options For Atewa

Instead of bauxite mining, a green development pathway offers enormous long-term socio-economic and ecological benefits. Several green development ventures can be explored together. Three complementary solutions have been proposed so far to provide green jobs for the community.

Green development options for AtewaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Cocoa

A vibrant cocoa processing industry.

Green development options for AtewaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Preservation And Sustainability

Making Atewa a National Park and thriving eco-tourism destination.

Green development options for AtewaUnited Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Green Economy

High-End Green Commodities development and forestry related jobs.

Help Save Atewa Forest

As our world warms, and our communities and towns feel the impact of the increasing temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns, Ghana’s remaining forests, like Atewa, are crucial safety nets to help build resilience and support local and national adaptation.

Help save Atewa Forest (2018)United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

Help save Atewa Forest from bauxite development by signing on to this petition at tinyurl.com/SaveAtewa.

For more information, contact Daryl Bosu @ Daryl.bosu@arocha.org
You can also visit our website at www.arocha.org/ghana

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