The fact that the mangrove forest reaches the local community is a major accomplishment of a lasting effort by local, national and global activists to save the environment. Mangrove forests are used in a variety of ways by local people. The wood is very hard due to its incredible density and therefore good for building houses.
The marshes are the breeding ground for an astonishing number of birds, lizards, monkeys, crabs, crayfish, snakes and even bigger mammals like wild pigs or small stags.
Chopping down the mangrove trees means cutting back the habitats of this animals and therefore cutting back the access of fishermen to their prey.
In addition to the direct benefits for humans, the mangroves play a central role in preventing coastal degradation and flooding in the rainy season.
If you read one of my last posts on climate change you’d know what I am talking about!
First the high demand for bush meat and charcoal in the big cities and emerging metropolis like Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi makes it difficult for the villages near the mangrove forest to withstand the economic pressure.
Secondly there is a massive internal influence from local politics who are trying to satisfy their respective donor. Since protecting marshes and mangrove forest is one of the chic and fancy topics that has a satisfying relation between money input and good-news yield, local people are under indirect attack from the central and local government to abstain from cutting or poaching in the mangroves. Connected with that is the whole issue of protection of endangered species like leather bag turtles.
I took this picture when I visited the western region in 2010. He was going to check on his lobster traps in the lagoon when we passed him with our canoes.
It is one of my most favorite shots to be honest, so I thought I am going to share it with you again.