Fostering Resilience To Climate Change Within The Western Wildlife Corridor Of Northern Ghana

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In an increasingly industrialized world, the loss and fragmentation of habitats pose significant threats to our wildlife.  An example of this degradation is the Western Wildlife Corridor in northern Ghana, a repository for biodiversity, suitable habitats, foraging grounds, and migratory routes for important terrestrial megafauna such as elephants.

 

How does this happen? Because of human activity and global warming, animal populations have been divided into smaller subpopulations which jeopardizes their survival.  Overpopulation and overconsumption have led to the depletion of forests and wildlife. A lack of effective enforcement of institutional and policy frameworks for implementing ecological and socio economically sustainable management systems for wildlife resources is constantly noticed.

 

The Western Wildlife Corridor (WWC) in Northern Ghana is a vast ecological landscape spanning 3,713 km2. It is characterized by savanna ecosystems, bush and woodland savannas, and gallery forests. As an assemblage of protected areas, poorly managed forest reserves, farmlands, open woodlands, and shea parkland, it contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna relevant for local livelihoods. It serves for agroforestry, small-scale cash crop plantations like mango and cashew and swidden agriculture. However, its main  focus though is preservation of biological diversity, reduction of rural poverty, and support of the local economy. The Western Wildlife Corridor is formed by three Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs), non-reserved land masses inhabited by local communities and containing important components of highly accessible biodiversity. Each of three official CREMAs is made up of a number of communities that rely on the landscape’s resources for a living and contribute to the management of those resources through local governance bodies.

 

Northern Ghana is characterized by a difficult socioeconomic and climatic context, as well as a high poverty rate. As a result, the local population is heavily reliant on natural resources. Natural ecosystems are under severe stress, resulting in landscape degradation and fragmentation. Furthermore, the WWC is constrained by the governance of the CREMAs that comprise it. While these constraints limit the implementation of integrated landscape approaches, Conservation Partners Ghana, an inspiring local organization, has developed a project with the potential to improve the governance of this landscape and reach a sustainable and inclusive economic development that responds to climate change and biodiversity.

 

To achieve a more sustainable and integrated management and conservation of natural resources along the western wildlife corridor, Conservation Partners Ghana’s involves rural communities and engages in more inclusive, participatory, and interest-based negotiating with stakeholders.

 

Projects like this, with enormous potential of recovery, and significant impact for people, animal and plant species exactly match our vision. We are proud partners of Conservation Partners Ghana.

 

Nature+ diverts funds directly proceeding from our investors. In the case of this project, funds are used  to involve and train local communities in sustainable land management, biodiversity monitoring, resource inventories and wildfire management. Additionally, we support 500 women through training and equipment to develop the value chain for shea, including building warehouses for women shea cooperatives, and supporting farmers with agroforestry by establishing forest restoration through assisted regeneration, or landscape restoration through natural regeneration.

 

So, how is investment value generated? Ecosystems like the Western Wildlife Corridor are natural assets, with a specific value. The right intervention, basically enhances the natural and human cycles, and creates an impact in a number of indicators (67 in total) that together increase the value of that natural asset.

 

What makes this opportunity unique is that Nature+ is a deep tech company, not an NGO. With a sophisticated data structure, and both digital and manual monitoring we gather all data generated for the impact we produce. Base-line data and monitoring allows us to create both a very solid Life Cycle Assessment on the different phases of the intervention, and very accurate impact goals as projections, that in turn translate in ROI projections, and yields for our investors.

 

Investing in natural assets is nothing new, traditional pension funds have been doing it for years. However, investing in an intervention project that enhances the value of the natural asset, and supporting it with a sophisticated data layer registered in a blockchain makes a world of a difference:  Without intervention, data and impact goals, traditional “pension fund style” in natural assets is modest. However, by tapping into the factors that boost impact, we proudly offer a significantly more interesting investment option that does not necessarily increase risk.

 

This is an amazing start, the more funds we can divert into projects, the more hectares, species, youth groups, women groups and farmers we can support, not to forget research institutions and universities involved.

 

Project expected outcomes

 

  1. 500 individuals from 20 resource-dependent communities will fully participate in the governance of their resources while effectively adapting to climate change. This outcome will come as a result of training and equipping communities with the right skillset that will help them implement sustainable land management and wildfire management practices.
  2. Restoration and integrated management of natural resources will improve ecological connectivity. This means to create pathways to scale-up landscape restoration across the Corridor in a more consultative manner: functional multi-stakeholder processes with long-term vision for a climate-smart shea industry in Ghana. Training and supporting farmers is key to integrate multi-purpose agroforestry trees to provide for fuelwood, nitrogen fixation, water retention and carbon storage.
  3. 550 local people will derive livelihood benefits as a result of improved non-timber-based commodity value chains. Shea pickers to help women collect three times more nuts per given time, building warehouses for storage, and establishing a community cooperative fund to support shea business start-ups.
This project deserves our attention and support because it looks at the bigger picture. It aims to improve livelihoods while engaging the community to fully participate in the governance of their resources, establishing ecological connectivity and fostering resilience to climate change.

 

This project is a model, and business case of a  sustainable and inclusive economic development that enhances biodiversity, and we hope an example for many others to get inspired. That is where a nature positive  happens, and that is where we want to be.

 

Get inspired yourself! Read more about the Western Wildlife Corridor Project.

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