Environmental impact of accelerated development on West Gonja District — a case study in Northern Ghana

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West Gonja which is the study area is located in the northern region of Ghana. Mole National Park which is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Ghana is also located in the district. Currently the potential accelerated development project may prove detrimental to the natural resources7 ultimately threatening the sustainability of such development. This study aims at identifying the major environmental effects of accelerated development that are noticeable or anticipated in the study area. Assessment of such impact; an examination of government institutional arrangements and recommendations to provide solutions to these issues have been made. Many environmental issues affecting communities and sectoral agencies in the district have been discussed. Such observable changes as deeline in the animal species diversity and. forest cover are stressed and. reasons for such degradations interpreted. Increase in temperature, wind speed and increasing unreliability of precipitation have boon analysed. The present agroforestry, and change in land use practices have been discussed. Bush fires their causes, effects and community feelings have been keenly taken into account to form the backbone of the study. Problems related to water based diseases have been highlighted. The effect of the Akosombo dam and the presence of the two Voltas (Black and White Valta rivers) have been taken into account seriously. Current resettlement programmes along the two rivers and in Damongo have been examined. The interlinkages of those developments, how they catalyse and influence one another in development have been elaborated. The possibility of integrating environmental issues (natural resource assessment and environmental considerations) given the existing policies and decentri1isition trend has been evaluated. The importance of economic-cum-environmental consideration in development planning, community participation and informal environmental education has been underscored. At the end, the study concludes with recommendations to check the fast deteriorating environmental conditions in the district.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1990