Accra, the capital city of Ghana, with a population of approximately 4 million people is situated on the Gulf of Guinea and is the only West African city in the Cities4Forests initiative. Most of the city’s residents live in high-density housing, which limits the number of trees that they can have on their properties. However, trees and vegetation are culturally important to the residents of Accra – and they play a big role in Ghana more broadly – providing shade, food and fodder, wildlife habitat and protection from severe rainfall events and flooding. Accra is known for its fruit-bearing trees, especially mangos, palm nut, and paw-paw. There are many coconut, kola nut, and palm trees too. The parks in Accra and near the city are managed by Ghana’s Department of Parks and Gardens. As in many parts of the world and with many growing cities, urban expansion threatens some of the city’s nearby forests.
Accra’s participation in Cities4Forests shows that the city recognizes the value of trees and green infrastructure in the city and is committed to ensuring that all of its residents are able to enjoy the suite of benefits that trees provide.
Delta ecosystem must be protected
The Densu Delta Protected Area is located 11 km west of Accra, Ghana, and covers 5,893 hectares with an open lagoon, salt pans, freshwater marsh and sand dunes. Once in a while the chief priest closes the lagoon to public activity to perform purification rituals, which along with long-established local fishing practices alleviate the pressure on the natural resources of the Densu Delta. The delta sustains an annual fish yield of 270 tonnes, and supports large-scale commercial salt mining, arable agriculture and water supply. However, this area is urbanizing at a rapid pace, with uncontrolled and unauthorized housing development, resulting in the destruction of woody vegetation cover and the loss of the floodplain and marshlands. “We need nature and not the other way round. When we mismanage our environment we will suffer the consequences” said the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena, who is working with traditional leaders and other stakeholders to save the Densu Delta. We must protect these ecosystems that support us.