Biodiversity Heritage Associates Africa
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Assessment of the Adaptability of the PAVE Irrigation System for Improved Agriculture in Northern Ghana. May 2014-November 2014

PAVE Irrigation systems is a rain water harvesting, aquifer recharge irrigation technology that injects excess water underground during period of rainy days and floods. This is aimed at storing water for dry season farming, and also supplementing irrigation during short rainy periods.  Depending on the prevailing soil layers, and the nature of aquifer, one unit of PAVE technology has the capacity to inject an estimated 4-40 million liters of water underground. This water can be stored in the soil for up to 180 days, and thus assures farmers of at least 6 months of irrigation. The construction of the PAVE inculcates two layers of carbonization, this is to enhance the purification of the water being injected, to enhance its safe use by humans.

A suitability analysis was therefore conducted based on a number of criteria that are perceived to affect the adaptability of the technologies to the Northern Ghana. Based on these criteria, lower and upper limits were set and a model developed. The model was successfully tested in 101 communities in the Northern (50), Upper East (31), and Upper West Regions (20). Results from the field testing has been incorporated in the model to refine it.

Sustainable Cocoa Production in the Bia Conservation Area in Ghana (2011)

The overall goal of the project is to mainstream biodiversity conservation into cocoa production landscape around the Bia Conservation Area in Southwest Ghana. Cocoa production is a major economic activity and land use in the Guinean Forests of the West Africa hotspot, one of the world’s 25 biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial regions. Forest ecosystems here harbor more than half of all mammal species found in Africa. Cocoa farms constitute a threat to the region’s globally significant biodiversity but also offer an opportunity to conserve it. The scale of the cocoa production sector and the global importance of the biodiversity in cocoa production landscapes justify the project intervention.

The Government of Ghana has recognized the threats to the cocoa industry and the present focus of the national cocoa policy is to increase production in existing plantations by introducing better agronomic practices and rehabilitating old farms. The commitment is also consistent with Ghana’s National Biodiversity Strategy, which places a strong emphasis on conserving the remaining forest cover. With an average yield of only 250-300 kg/hectare in Ghanaian cocoa farms, there is a sizeable potential for increased per-area yields and reduce the need for cocoa expansion.

This project will address barriers to wide-scale sustainable cocoa production at three levels: the market level, the national level, and the local level. At the market level, it will work with cocoa traders to support farmer’s efforts to adopt sustainable practices and increase their understanding of the relationship between biodiversity conservation and productivity. At the national level, the project will promote certification models that provide incentives for biodiversity-conserving and productive agroforestry farm systems. At the local level, it will collaborate with and support farmers to adopt best practices that enhance the ecological integrity of farms and connect forest fragment in the landscape while at the same time improving farm productivity.

A Botanical Assessment of Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve and its Surrounding Off-reserve areas in the Eastern Region of Ghana. March 2011

The assessment was carried out at Ajenjua Forest Reserve and its Off-Reserve under Kade Forest District. The Off-Reserve extends to some communities such as Adausena, Hweakwae and Yayaaso. 20% of the entire Off-Reserve was sampled. The sampling intensity was based on the nature of land use systems; Crop farm, Fallow land (Secondary Forest) and Plantation (Cocoa, Citrus and Oil palm).

Hundred and one hectares of land were assessed at the forest reserve. 60% of the forest reserve is covered with Cedrelaodorata and Gmelina arborea plantation, 30% Good or undisturbed forest and 10% disturb forest. A period of 33 days was used for the assessment of both the Off-Reserve and the Forest Reserve beginning from 10th December, 2010 to 13th January, 2011.

Development of a Critical Species Management Plan for the Newmont Akyem Mine Area. December 2011

The cultivation of critical plant species is key to enhancing the biodiversity status of the mine area. The first step towards achieving this outcome was to establish the plant population and diversity in the pit area. The total number of plant species identified is 145, out of which 10 were either invasive or exotic. Of the 18 IUCN Listed Species, 1 Endangered (Cola boxianna), 1 Near Threatened (Milicia excelsa), 13 are Vulnerable (usually timber species) and 3 are at Lower Risk (Least Concern and Conservation Dependent). For the Ghana Star Rating, there were 2 Black Star, 2 Gold Star, 5 Red Star, 12 Scarlet Star, 29 Pink Star, 4 Blue Star and 89 Green Star Species.

Out of the 149 species recorded (representing 42 plant families), 128 species are earmarked for propagation at the nursery. Currently over 8,000 wildlings have been removed from the Ajenjua Bepo FR including 75 wildlings of Cola boxiannaspecies. Additionally, a number of herbal plants have also been harvested by a cross-section of community members.

The salvage and cultivation of critical plant species will be sustained to enhance the ecological health of the area. It is also recommended that open spaces within the mine area should be used for the cultivation of herbal medicinal plants for communities. As a way of improving the livelihoods of community members particularly herbalists, it is recommended that further developments should explore supporting the marketing of herbal plant medicine at the local, national and even on international markets.