The Montonnso Sacred Forest Project is part of our sustainable community forestry programme, which helps community based organisations deliver projects which help restore and conserve local forests and associated biodiversity as well as improve livelihoods through the sustainable use of trees for resources.
The project was based in Ghana and worked with two communities bordering the sacred forest. The project aimed to conserve and increase the biodiversity of the sacred forest. This was achieved by increasing the awareness of the forest’s conservation status and improving local communities’ income, ensuring they have sufficient resources to allow them to move away from relying on the sacred forest.
The project was supported by funding from our partner Wessanen UK, allowing our local partners in Ghana, Centre for Sustainable Rural Agriculture and Development (CSRAD) to support the local communities in a number of different ways.
Firstly, local farmers were taught ‘farm-forestry’ practices, many of the farmers in the area grow cocoa as their main crop, however, this crop is predicted to struggle in the future due to rising temperatures. CSRAD taught 70 farmers to incorporate trees into their farming systems to shade their cocoa crops and increase their yields. Farmers were also trained in tree nursery management to produce seedlings for planting on their land.
In addition to this, farmers were supported to establish timber plantations on their land, and given the skills and knowledge to register these trees with local government and secure ownership. This will decrease the need for local communities to take timber from the Sacred Forest in the future, which will reduce damage to the local ecosystem.
Beneficiaries have learnt useful skills through this project, and crucially, they are keen to share this knowledge with their neighbours. Faustina Somahi (pictured below) spoke to us about the benefits of planting trees on her cocoa farm “I am encouraged by my husband’s award as District Best Agroforestry farmer and the benefits our cocoa trees are getting from the shade of the trees planted about four years ago; to continue to plant and nurture trees for medium and long term benefits. I will therefore inspire my fellow women to partake in this activity to support their family.”
Thanks to Wessanen UK for supporting the Montonnso Sacred Forest Conservation Project, the farmers who have been trained are now able to continue tree planting after the project has come to an end, and train their neighbours, continuing the success of the initiative.