Accra, 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.