The forests of south-central Ghana contain the country’s highest concentration of nesting sites for the yellow-headed Picathartes (also known as the white-necked Rockfowl). This region also suffers from high levels of illegal logging and hunting, and Rainforest Rescue was established to confront this. Tusk is supporting their efforts to protect the Picathartes, and a variety of other important species, including western-wattled cuckoo-shrike and long-tailed pangolin, as well as their forest habitat.
The aim is to connect the local communities to the conservation of their surrounding habitat, ensuring that they benefit from sustainable, community-based eco-tourism, improving their poverty while reducing their dependence on the forest resources.
In the early stages of the project, the construction of an eight classroom school for the three surrounding communities is nearing its completion. Previously there was no school in the area. Supporting the communities in this way and linking it to conservation has been invaluable in securing their engagement in the project. It has also prevented the destruction of local habitat through sand extraction for construction.
The next steps will be to construct teacher accommodation, and then tourist accommodation and facilities. Local community members are to receive training in alternative farming methods that do not have a negative impact on the habitat (e.g. honey production), and are to be supported with access to markets. This work will then be followed with reforestation of the land between the communities and the forest.