Over 80 percent of inhabitants of the Kalakpa Forest Reserve in the Volta Region have agreed in principle to relocate outside the facility to aid its conservation, a Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) report has indicated.
Greenglobe-Ghana, a non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) undertook the survey as part of a year-long BUSAC project dubbed “Saving Kalakpa Resource Reserve and Decent Livelihood for Kalakpa Residents.”
Mr Samuel Deh, Executive Officer of the NGO, in a release copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the Government’s reluctance to relocate the human settlements within the resource since it was created in 1975, had caused a spike in population and irreversible degradation.
It said the long awaited relocation and resettlement would enable the practice of decent livelihoods, and save the thousands of protected flora and fauna and animal species in the reserve.
It called on the government to implement fully the resettlement action plan.
The study noted an exponential increase in the population in the reserve since its inception in 1975, and attributed the degradation to increasing farming, charcoal production, firewood harvesting and animal rearing activities by the inhabitants as an affront.
Over 80 per cent of the residents in the forest had agreed to decent relocation outside the reserve. The overall goal is to see the inhabitants of Kalakpa Resource Reserve decently relocated and practising decent and legal livelihoods in the absence of management conflict with the residents in the reserve.
The 320 square kilometre guinea savannah game park established by a Legislative Instrument, borders the Ho Municipality, the Ho West District, as well as the Adaklu and North Tongu Districts of the Volta Region, and is home to over 270 species of birds.
The resource also holds thousands of buffaloes, river-hogs, and monkeys, making it a major spot for nature loving tourists from across the globe.
The reserve is however, over the years been set on a path of degradation by the malicious commercial exploitation of rare wood species including; rosewood, and also the hunting of wildlife, forcing concerned citizens to rise against the Wildlife and Forestry Commission for their inaction.
Kalakpa is said to be inhabited by 28 communities with a population of over 2,000.