Evaluation of the potential of the Kwahu Forest Reserve as a National Park

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National Parks play very important role not only in conservation of plant and animal species but also attract tourists and contribute to the economic development of a nation. !ii Ghana, there are many Parks and Reserves but the two most important that attract international tourists are Kakum and Mole National Parks. These Parks are severely under human pressure therefore there is the need to create more National Parks by converting the existing potential forest reserves to National Parks. One of these reserves is the Kwahu Forest Reserve. There was the need to conduct ecological studies in order to determine whether Kwahü Forest Reserve would meet the criteria as a National Park. Questionnaire and field survey were conducted to determine the floristic and fiuna composition. The survey also attempted to identify sites of scientific and recreational beauty and availability of facilities for tourists. The results indicated that the Kwahu Forest Reserve, being a montane forest is still in its primitive state. About half of all the tree species were big trees with diameter at breast height (dbh) more than 10cm. The fist growing species such as Musanga cercropoides which is one of the number of plant species often found growing in abandoned farm areas was almost absent in the quadrats in the forest It may be inferred that the authorities have taken steps to prevent, or eliminate all exploitati01 or occupation and to enforce effectively a proper respect for the ecological, geomorphological or aesthetic features of the area. Exploitation of natural resources, including agricultural and hunting activities could have been excluded by the topography of the area. The natural features of the forest which could attract tourists include vegetation types, waterfalls etc. Although the number of species of large and conspicuous mammals was relatively small, there were more species of other vertebrates particularly monkeys and birds. These mammals could attract tourists from temperate countries. About eleven hotels located in the vicinity of the forest which although may not be classified as ‘star’ hotels have modest facilities, which could serve the purpose of not very rich tourists.
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 Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science, 2000