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Harness Wetland Resources for Improved Livelihoods – Dr Dennison

Anyanzinli (W/R), June 28, GNA – The Director
of Coastal Sustainable Landscape Project (CSLP), Dr Steve Dennison has
underscored the socio-economic values of wetland resources in the country.

He in this regard advised that depleted
mangrove trees in wetland areas should consciously be restored to preserve
their biological diversity.

Dr Dennison was speaking to the Ghana News
Agency on the sidelines during a visit to the mangrove restoration site of the
wetland at Anyanzinli in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region.

The project, which is being funded by USAID,
and US Forest Service-Managed Intervention, is being implemented in the six
coastal Districts of Western Region.

The communities are Ellembelle, Jomoro,
Nzema-East, Ahanta-West, Shama and the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly
(STMA).

The project aims at promoting low emissions
development in the Region by strengthening community-based natural resource
management and monitoring.

Mr Dennison said the USAID had signed
a-three-year contract with the communities but based on successes achieved in
the initial phase, it had been extended to 2019.

He said the phase two of the project under the
US government’s Feed the Future initiative was aimed at poverty reduction and
increased resilience in the target communities through improved, natural
resource management, livelihood diversification, value chain development and
ecosystem restoration.

Dr Dennison commended the Greater Amanzule
Community Conservation Committee for the zeal to nurse and nurture seeds for
transplanting.

He realized the difficulty in restoring
mangrove trees and appealed to them to make the project sustainable in the
wetland zones.

The Monitoring, Evaluation and Communication
Specialist of CSLP, Mr Richard Adupong said more than 2,000 hectares of
wetlands have been covered in the six Districts of the Western Region.

Mr Adupong said as part of wetland
conservation, more mangrove trees would be planted and entreated fish mongers
to undertake re-planting exercise after felling down trees for firewood to
smoke their fish.

To this end, “fishing communities must
not forget the link between the wetland and the sea since wetland produces fish
for the sea so when it is depleted it would lead to a low catch in the
sea”.

He pointed out that wetland conservation
served as a breeding ground for fish species, and also helps to sequester a lot
of carbon more than the normal trees.

“Wetlands also have the potential to
check flooding as the rain water percolates and absorbed underground,” he
added.

Mr Adupong explained that wetlands served as
nursery and spongy areas for commercially important coastal fishes and pelagic
fish species and shell fish.

The Chairman of Greater Amanzule Community
Conservation Committee, Mr Mac Kwofie Donald bemoaned the indiscriminate
felling of trees in the wetlands, which resulted in the shortage of fish in the
wetlands and by extension, the sea.

He said about 45 communities under his
jurisdiction started the transplanting of seedlings in degraded areas in the
wetlands some four to five months ago with 303 seedlings.

He said members of the Committee needed life
jackets to swim in the river to pick the seeds for nursery and also appealed
for tricycles to help convey the seeds from the river to the nursery site.

GNA 

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