The Atewa Range Forest Reserve measuring 23,663 ha is part of an ecosystem known as the Upper Guinea Forest. The Atewa Range is only one of two such forests left remaining in Ghana. This forest reserve was created in 1926, deemed a Special Biological Protection Area in 1994, one of Ghana’s 30 Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) in 1999 and in 2001 was listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International.
Not only is the Atewa Range important in biological diversity but it also provides the headwater for three major river systems, the Ayensu, Densu and Birim rivers. These rivers are the most important source of domestic and industrial water for local communities as well as Ghana’s major populations such as its capital Accra. Atewa also presents an inexhaustible laboratory for global medicinal needs as it presents an unlimited array of species, both flora and fauna with pharmaceutical properties of tropical species.
The scientific and educational value of the forests is incalculable especially since the forests are more-or-less undisturbed natural vegetation (something rare in West Africa), and the wide variety of habitats (permanent streams, swamps, closed forest, and natural clearings) support a rich fauna.
Surveys in the area have already discovered nine new species in Atewa and the forest is home to the critically endangered frog species (Conraua derooi) whose presence in Atewa may represent the last viable population in the world.
The topographic variability and the diversity of plants and animals provide considerable potential for tourism, especially as the Atewa Range is the nearest rain forest to Accra.
By focusing our efforts to ensure sustainable use of the forest range we hope to conserve some of the most luscious, diverse forest left in Ghana as well as West Africa.
A Rocha Ghana