A Socio-Economic Study and Resource Status of the Northern Rim of the Lake Bosumtwi Basin

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The Lake Bosumtwi, the only naturally occurring lake in Ghana, is surrounded by biologically rich rainforest and is situated at about 32 kilometers southeast of Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. It lies on longitude 01° 25’ W and latitude 06° 30’ N. There are twenty-four communities sited along its rim. These communities derive their livelihood mainly from the resources of the lake and its surrounding areas. The main objective of this work was to determine the socio-economic characteristics of the inhabitants and their implications on the conservation of the Lake Basin. This was achieved through the use of field surveys and primary (structured questionnaires) and secondary data. A sample size of one hundred inhabitants was randomly selected from four villages, which were chosen based on easy accessibility and funding considerations. The analysis of the work involve descriptive and some quantitative statistics. Field interviews were also conducted with some chiefs and opinion leaders of the villages. The results of the fieldwork indicate a decline in fish and non-timber forest products over time. There has also been a shift from fishing to farming as an income earning activity, placing more pressure on the land resources. Bush fires have been identified as a threat to the remaining forest resources. As a measure to reduce the over dependence of the people on their natural resources and hence to sustain the ecological balance of the area, alternate sources of income such as ecotourism development, cottage industries, agro-tourism among others, have been recommended. It has also been suggested that the inhabitants should be educated on appropriate land use practices, population growth issues and that they should be provided with other sources of potable water to avoid the over dependence on the lake for domestic purposes.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the Master of Science degree in Environmental Resources Management, 2000