Mushrooms, cocoa, fern - all at Atewa
At first glance the Earthstar fungus (Geastrum sp.) looks like a flower but it’s actually a mushroom. You will find this mushroom species in Atewa Forest Reserve along with a myriad of flora in the Akyem Abuakwa area of the Eastern Region.
But these indigenous species of fungi are under threat, prompting national and international environmental campaigners to sue the Ghana government over an agreed China-Ghana deal that allows the reserve to be mined for low-grade bauxite. Read more about it in AKADi issue 4.
One of the campaigners - A Rocha Ghana shared some stunning images with us in the hope that these images would raise awareness of the Forest's treasures and prompt some of us into action.
Aside from fungi, the forest has the right micro-climate to supports, cocoa production and other food crop production. The plant list of Atewa Forest comprises 1134 species. Although the vegetation structure of Atewa Forest has been highly modified by logging, farming and mineral prospecting and extraction, forest vegetation remains at all latitudes.
One of the major threats to the biodiversity of Atewa Forest, is hunting. Hunters use different types of snares and traps to hunt animals. This particular trap is for small to medium-sized mammals such as giant rats, brush-tail porcupines, mongoose and sometimes pangolins.
Atewa is a major source of both traditional and modern medicines. Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) are traditional non-timber forest products that can contribute to livelihood improvements.
Tree fern (Cyathea manniana) is one of the globally rare fern species found in the Atewa Forest Reserve.
The forest floor - dense tropical and untouched - supports one of the many streams running through the forests. The water systems provide habitat for aquatic plants and animals and flow out to provide water to our homes.
Below is an image of one of over 100 waterfalls in many forms that provide fresh water to many communities in the Eastern, Central and the Greater Accra.
Several of these burbling streams in the Atewa Forest are what feed the Weija Dam as well as several small water processing facilities in all the seven districts found in Atewa Range Forest. Bauxite mining will destroy this forest and deplete and pollute these rivers and streams.
Find out more about A Rocha Ghana and how you can help in just three ways.
1. Send a letter to the President of Ghana - find out how to do so here.
2. A Rocha Ghana is petitioning the President of Ghana to turn Atewa into a national park. You can sign the petition here.
3. Donate - if you can - by going over to A Rocha's donations page.
And watch out for our next Atewa Forest post on its frogs community.