Inception of In-situ Conservation in Ghana
Traditional structures, systems, knowledge and practices were developed during the pre-colonial era for an effective community-based management and utlization of both forest and wildlife resources in the country.
The comparatively small human population and the absence of modern technologies during the pre-colonial era favoured biodiversity conservation in the country. Tufour et al reported in 1992 that there were at least 1,450 sacred groves in Ghana. These traditional conservation areas have been maintained basically as miniature forest and wildlife reserves and for cultural purposes.
The Wild Animals Preservation Ordinance of 1900 (Cap. 100) protected primarily some species of wild animals and regulated game hunting and exportation of trophies. In 1903 the first game reserve of the country (Obosom-Sene Game Reserve) was created for the purpose of managing species of wild animals to provide game meat. Mole Game Reserve and others were created later. The Forestry Department was established in 1909 with three main objectives namely (a) to provide a permanent forest estate to protect the environment (b) to ensure successful agricultural development and (c) to sustain forest revenues for the land owners. Sacred groves, forest reserves and wildlife conservation areas are therefore the major biodiversity sites in this country.
Protected areas have been created with the purpose of ensuring that representative samples of the various ecological zones are set aside to facilitate in-situ conservation in Ghana. Incidentally, more emphasis has been placed on harvesting of timber than environmental protection and wildlife conservation in the country. In terms of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation, the wildlife conservation efforts have achieved more significant results than those of forestry.