As part of efforts to contribute to awareness creation on the importance of mangroves for the socio-economic development of the country and its coastal communities in particular, the second phase of a study tour of mangrove forests in Ghana is underway in the Western Region.
Mangroves are coastal tropical forests found at the interface of land and sea. They are found along the coasts and estuaries throughout the tropics and subtropics, and are capable of thriving in salt water.
Held under the theme “Status of Ghana’s Mangrove Forests – from West to East,” the tour was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in collaboration with the Media Platform on Environment and Climate Change (MPEC), as part of activities marking this year’s celebration of International Mangrove Day in Ghana.
The International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem has been celebrated since 2015 on every July 26 to raise awareness on the importance of mangrove ecosystems as “a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem” and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses.
The tour, which would be continued in the Central Region today, involves some personnel from IUCN, MPEC, the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and some journalists.
The Assistant Project Coordinator, IUCN Ghana Project Office, Mr Anthony A. Mba, in an interview with the paper at Esiama in the Ellembelle District yesterday, noted that the tour was under IUCN’s “Management of Mangrove Forests from Senegal to Benin Project”.
He explained that the four-year project (2019- 2023) with funding from the European Union was aimed at strengthening the management of protected areas and mangrove sites.
Mr Mba disclosed that IUCN was implementing restoration and livelihood activities in the Mono-Volta landscape (Togo, Benin, and Ghana) and more specifically in Songor and Anlo-Keta Lagoon in Ghana, and Mono Delta Biosphere Reserve in Benin and Togo.
He said that was because mangroves formed the foundation of a highly productive and biologically rich ecosystem which provided habitat and feeding ground for a wide range of aquatic (marine) species, many of which were endangered.
Some of the invaluable services of mangroves, Mr Mba said, were the provision of vital social, economic and environmental services to the immediate and fringe communities.
“Mangrove soils are carbon-rich, sequestering carbon over millennial timescale and provide nursery grounds for fisheries that restock the wider marine environment to support commercial fisheries activities,” he stated.
FROM ABIGAIL ARTHUR, ESIAMA, WESTERN REGION