Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, the Asantehene, has announced his commitment to providing protection for water-bodies in Asanteman by planting and managing 2.5 million trees around Lake Bosomtwe in the Ashanti Region.
Otumfuo made the announcement during celebration of the Akwasidae Festival at the Manhyia Palace recently.
He reiterated that the project’s objective is to implement a landscape restoration intervention around Lake Bosomtwe by planting 4,000 hectares of land with 2.5 million trees over a five-year period.
This, Otumfuo hopes, should ultimately help contribute to improved ecosystem service provision, climate change mitigation, and improved environmental consciousness among inhabitants of fringe communities around the lake.
“The project is envisioned to contribute to Ghana’s environmental protection efforts, contribute to the fight against climate change, contribute to Ghana’s pledge to the Bonn Challenge, and as well improve tourism around Lake Bosomtwe,” he emphasised.
Ghana’s only natural lake, Lake Bosomtwe, has since 2016 been designated a Biosphere Reserve Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to promote a healthy balance between biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use. The move was a response to the appeal made by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for protection of the lake.
A tripartite agreement has been signed between UNESCO, the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing of the Republic of Ghana and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, the Custodian of Lake Bosomtwe.
This proposed project, which aims at planting 2.5 million trees around Lake Bosomtwe, is a partnership between the Oheneba Poku Foundation and Manhyia Palace.
Other stakeholders include the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Environmental Protection Agency, Water Resources Commission, Ghana Tourism Authority, UNESCO, the District Assemblies of Bosome-Freho and Bosomtwe, as well as the Lake Bosomtwe Community Resources Management Area (CREMA) among others
The project will adopt multiple schemes for tree-planting – particularly, a mixture of agroforestry and pure plantation approaches will be adopted. In the case of agroforestry, the project will liaise with individual farmers to integrate trees on their farmlands and manage them. In the case of fallow lands, planting will either be through enrichment planting or through full reforestation. Tree-planting will also be done on school compounds where possible.
In general terms, indigenous tree species will be planted in the area to, at least, restore the cultural heritage. As much as possible, mixed stands will be adopted to improve biodiversity of the restored area. This will help return the areas to well-functioning ecosystems where services can be obtained that support the daily subsistence of inhabitants; such as collection of snails, mushrooms and other important non-timber forest products derived from forests.
Meanwhile, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has tasked Nana Adu Mensah Asare, Amakomhene, to chair the Implementation Committee to ensure a seamless and successful implementation of the Project.
The Executive Director of Oheneba Poku Foundation, Mr. Fred Kyei Sarpong, announced that awareness will be created in all communities around Lake Bosomtwe on the importance of tree-planting, environmental protection/conservation, and climate change causes, effects and solutions.
He said: “Partnering Otumfuo in Planting 2.5 million trees may seem like a symbolic gesture of climate justice — but it will help reverse the reduction in water level of the lake and protect the water-body for the next 200 years!”