The vegetation cover of the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site is depleting at an alarming rate, and this poses serious threats to the entire ecosystem of the enclave.
Over the years, there has been indiscriminate felling of particularly mangrove trees on the wetlands by some residents in communities along the Anlo/Keta lagoons as wood fuel.
The development has been a major concern to organisations associated with biodiversity management and government agencies mandated to safeguard mangrove ecosystems, due to the role they play in sustaining plant and animal life.
The Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site is the largest wetland in the country covering an area of 530 square kilometers.
It cuts across the Anloga, Akatsi South and South Tongu districts, and the Keta and Ketu South Municipalities of the Volta Region. Many people in communities around the swamp depend on the mangrove resources for their livelihoods.
To check the cutting of the mangrove vegetation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in collaboration with the Forestry Commission and other partners, initiated a four-year project aimed at educating communities along the wetlands on the need to conserve the mangrove ecosystems.
At the celebration of this year’s International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems, also known as World Mangroves Day, at Anyanui, in the Anlo District of the Volta Region, there were calls for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to conserve the Anlo/Keta Lagoons’ fauna and flora.
The Operations Manager of Wetlands at the Forestry Commission, Mr. Dickson Agyeman entreated the communities to practise sustainable harvesting by planting new mangrove seedlings when they fell trees in the wetlands.
The Head of the Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site, Mr. Lawrence Tetteh Ocloo called for laws to regulate activities in mangroves swamps in the country, as that would give the Forestry Commission the authority to stop the depletion of vegetation cover at the site.
The chiefs and people of Anlo hailed the initiative.
Mangrove seedlings were planted to symbolically kick-start the project, in commemoration of the World Mangroves Day.