Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  The global theme for this years’ event is “Green Cities” with a focus on three key elements, Green buildings, Energy and Transportation. However, for the celebration of this event in Ghana, the global theme has been adapted to give it a more national focus, in line with urgent environmental concerns of the Ghanaian society. The theme for the national event is therefore “Our Forests in harmony with our Cities”. The theme was chosen in view of the important role our forests play in terms of being not only repositories of biodiversity but the ecosystem services they provide especially their role as carbon sinks and sources of drinking water for our cities and rural communities. It is estimated that about half of all CO2 emissions from human activity are swiftly absorbed by the two major natural reservoirs of carbon on the earth’s surface: forests and oceans. Our cities would be a lot warmer without this free service from nature and preserving these “carbon sinks” is vital to slowing the pace of climate change.

Despite their paramount importance forest areas in Ghana and in most places in West Africa are faced with numerous challenges and threats and are diminishing at an alarming rate. As a country we are faced with key issues of increasing degradation of our forest resources and increasing threats from a growing population’s need to use the land space for other productive purposes.

Due to the immense and dramatic effects these problems pose for our survival as a people, A Rocha Ghana, in partnership with the Regional Environmental Office of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana are collaborating to organize this years’ Earth Day to highlight the potentials of our forests as well as the threats facing them. Ultimately, we aim to use this years’ Earth Day celebration to share our knowledge, and to educate our communities and civil society and to inspire them to join us in protecting our forest areas, especially those closest to our big cities.

For this reason, the Atewa Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region of Ghana has been chosen as the site of focus. Atewa is one of the largest remaining blocks of tropical forest which lie closest to the city of Accra. It has been described as one of the healthiest and most important ecosystems in West Africa. The forest has long been recognized as a nationally important reserve which delivers a variety of ecosystem services and benefits whose economic value cannot be matched. It shelters the headwaters of three major rivers in Ghana; the Ayensu, Birim and Densu Rivers - which provide drinking water for a large number of both urban and rural dwellers in parts of Accra, Oda, Koforidua and Kade. The bio-diverse forest also supports an exceptional number of rare plants and animals of global and national importance.

Regardless of its critical nature, Atewa is faced with many challenges including ever persistent pressure for commercial bauxite mining, illegal artisanal mining in the fringe communities, illegal chainsaw logging, bushmeat hunting and farm encroachment. Unfortunately some of these environmental issues are also being replicated throughout the expansive forest landscape in Ghana. This poses serious risks to the ecological integrity of the forests and the provisioning services they offer, especially their role in absorbing CO2 emissions from cars, industry and other human activity in our cities, rights of all to clean air, potable drinking water, food and medicine.  Our past and future and our wellbeing as a people is therefore tied to the millions of acres of forests that cover our nation.  We therefore urge you to join us in our quest to save this forest and other forests for today and for posterity.   


The purpose of for the symposium is to share our knowledge and educate our communities and students and inspire them to join us in protecting our forest environment. Experienced scientists, practitioners and professionals will speak on the following issues

  • Forests and trees for healthy cities; The prospects and challenges for Atewa
  • Biodiversity Importance of Atewa Forest Reserve – the role of forest birds
  • Amphibians as key components of biodiversity – Atewa forest reserve in focus
  • Current State of water in Ghana and Why Atewa is critical

After each presentation there will be opportunities for questions, contributions and discussions from students and all stakeholders gathered.

Come join us and lets inspire tomorrow today. Save Atewa Forest Now!!!!


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