Kpeve, Dec 16, GNA - An integrated attempt at sustaining forest products along the Weto Mountain Ranges in Volta Region by modifying livelihood activities of range dwellers is underway.
Based on the Sato Yama concept, meaning a “village within woodland”, the approach is a well-tested biodiversity protection and restoration scheme.
The US0,000 project lasting 18 months is being funded by the Japanese Government and facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under its Global Environment Facility.
Mr George Ortsin, Programme Coordinator told a pre-implementation stakeholders’ workshop at Kpeve in South-Dayi District on Thursday that the project process would be adaptive.
He said the project, beginning early next year (2012), would proceed from the premise that the land and forests had a capacity, which when exceeded could lead to its demise.
He said it would promote sound ecological production systems; re-establish the degraded landscape and also meet the socio-economic needs of the dwellers.
The Weto Ranges extends from Juapong in the North-Tongu eastwards across the Volta Region into Togo.
Mr Ortsin observed that ecosystems were normally unique with exotic plants some of which could be medicinal and needed to be protected.
Mr Paul Kpai, Programme Coordinator of the Environmental Development Youth Movement (EDYM) told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that a similar project in parts of the area had sensitized dwellers on the need for them to adopt livelihood styles that would sustain the ecosystem.
He said evidence of the deteriorating situation was the denuded mountain slopes as one travelled along the range.
Mr Kpai said the agricultural system of slash and burn was not in conformity with sustainable land use and must be stopped.
He said alternative livelihood opportunities that would be promoted include beekeeping, ruminant rearing, poultry farming and food processing.
Representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), traditional leaders, forestry conservation workers, potable water providers, Ghana Fire Service and non-governmental organizations attended the forum.