Ghana's Bia Conservation Landscape: A Convergence of Biological and Cultural Diversity

Yaw Osei-Owusu, Vincent Awotwe-Pratt
Most rural communities in Ghana have protected places because they are considered sacred, unique, or were recognized as aesthetically beautiful. The Bia Conservation Landscape is made up of both reserved and off-reserve lands. While the ownership of the reserved areas is vested in the President of Ghana, the Sefwi Traditional Stool exercises jurisdiction over the off-reserve areas. The Sefwi landscape is one of the few where Western and traditional religious practices are given equal
more » ... en equal prominence. Taboos, customs, and other traditional norms purported to regulate the use of natural resources are observed to show reverence to the forests. The landscape is considered the cocoa production hub of Ghana, accounting for about 40% of the national cocoa output. This landscape is the meeting point for rich biological diversity and a traditional ecological knowledge system, passed on through language and practices by the indigenous communities. The unique natural, cultural, and historical features constitute enormous potential for ecotourism development and justify the investment into the continued protection of the landscape.