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New, rare and threatened species discovered in Ghana
Date:12/6/2007

eyed the 58,472 acre (23,665 hectare) Atewa tract in south-eastern Ghana, just two hours from the capital Accra. The scientists found an intact forest ecosystem, which is unusual and significant for West Africa, where most forests are highly fragmented and disturbed.

The RAP, sponsored by Alcoa World Alumina LLC, provides information for policymakers and other stakeholders in deciding how to balance development with protecting important biodiversity that benefits local communities and the global ecosystem.

Established as a national forest reserve in 1926, and since as one of Ghanas Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas, Atewas importance has long been recognized because it contains the headwaters of three river systems, essential sources of domestic, agricultural and industrial water for local communities and many of Ghanas major population centers, including Accra.

In their final report, scientists called for the government to upgrade the areas protection status such as to a National Park, create of a buffer zone around the park and develop a management plan that includes conversation measures and economic development strategies compatible with conservation goals.

The report points to eco-tourism as an optimal industry to develop because of Atewas beauty, richness in species and close proximity to the capital city. Another solution cited is Payment for Ecosystem Services or carbon credits. The economic values of the services provided by Atewa would be calculated and payments for these services made to the communities as a mechanism to protect the forest and watershed.

While this forest has long been known to harbor a high number of species and to serve as an essential source of water for local villages and for Accra, it is only recently that the global importance of this reserve has been confirmed, said Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei, CI-Ghana country director. We must quickly take action to protect the incredible di
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Contact: Susan Bruce
sbruce@conservation.org
703-341-2471
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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