Assessing natural resource use conflicts in the Kogyae strict nature reserve, Ghana

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Natural resources are of great importance to millions of people in Ghana, especially those whose livelihoods largely depend on them. However the Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve (KSNR) in Ghana has been the scene of conflicts since its establishment in 1971. Conflicts in the KSNR have taken place at a variety of levels especially among the community members and between the community members and the wildlife Division. The conflict is mainly violent in nature with varying dimensions such as destruction of farms, destruction of Wildlife Division camps, excessive logging; arrests of poachers and eviction of the host communities in the KSNR. This study therefore assesses the type, origin, nature, level and the effect of the conflicts on development. It also seeks to examine constraints confronting effective conflict management in KSNR, with the view to recommending policy interventions that will help curta il the conflicts in Ghana. Data for the study were derived from direct interviews with the stakeholders and on-site observation. The results revealed that a structural conflict was the major type of conflict characterizing the conflicts in the KSNR. This conflict mainly originated from weak enforcement of resource laws, absence of conflict management mechanism, land litigation and demographic changes. These together with inadequate source of livelihood and imposition of policy without effective participatio n of stakeholders have fuelled illegal activities, mainly hunting and encroachment, resulting in uncontrolled conflicts in the KSNR. Efforts to address these conflicts have always been done on ad hoc basis. This was mainly due to the lack of legislative instrument to ensure that a well structured conflict management mechanism was in place to address these conflicts. The study recommends that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources ensures the establishment of legislative instrument to ensure establishm ent of a well structured conflict mechanisms to address conflicts in natural resource areas. In the meantime, regular conservation education programmes should be embarked on in the fringe communities for the people to appreciate the need for natural resource sustainability.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partail fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management,