The status and biodiversity of medicinal plants in some districts in Ashanti Region

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Many important medicinal plant species in Ghana are threatened as a result of natural habitat loss, increasing population resulting in pressure on land for agriculture, and bush fires. Urgent measures are therefore needed to conserve these vital natural resources for the future. The status and biodiversity of medicinal plants in some districts in the Ashanti region were studied from October 1998 to September 2000. Ten randomly selected districts comprising Ahafo Ano North, Kwabre, Ahafo Ano South, Atwima, Asante Akim South, Ejisu Juaben. Sekyere west, Oflinso, Asante Akim North, and Amansie East districts were selected for the study. The study involved questionnaire data and field survey. Medicinal plants found to be endangered in the districts include Piper guineense, Rauvoijia vomitorla, Strychnos icaja, Paullinla pinnata, Xyiopta aethioplea, Aframomurn melegueta, Calliandra partoricensis and Khaya senegalensis. Plant over-exploitation, bush fires, logging and clearing of land for agriculture and other developmental projects were found to be the main factors responsible for the disappearance of plant genetic resources in the districts. To salvage threatened plant genetic resources it was recommended that traditional laws on conservation such as taboos and taboo days must be enforced by imposing heavy fines on people who infringe the law. Also chiefs, assemblymen and religious leaders must mobilize the people for tree planting programmes especially for the threatened tree species. The government and District assemblies should support these programmes by providing funds and/or seeds. Family planning campaign should also be stepped up to control the population increases.
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 award of Science in Environmental Science, 2000