Ramsar and Wetlands

Establishment of Ramsar Sites in Ghana
Whereas the Forestry Commission of Ghana has identified some specific wetlands as official Ramsar sites in Ghana and establish them as such, there are however numerous wetlands of equal importance spread across the country with predominantly in the coastal belt. These are Keta Lagoon wetland, Songor, Sakumo, Densu wetland and the Muni-Poadze.

A Ramsar Site is a wetland site designated as of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO, and came into force in 1975. These sites are expected to be representative of rare or unique wetland types, and of international importance for conserving biological diversity.

Densu: The Densu wetland, fed by Densu River is locted 11km west of Accra and comprises an open lagoon, freshwater marsh, salt pan, scrab and sand-dunes. The fresh water inflow is controlled by a dam belonging to the Ghana Water Company. Degradation of the land due to housing needs around the city resulted in the reduction of woody vegetation hence the designation of the area for protection in 1992 a welcome news. Salt mining in the area had also been a major threat to the preservation of the ecology. The wetland is important for local and migratory water birds. Marine turtles of different species; Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas and Dermochelys coriacea have been recorded nesting on the beach front of the wetland.

Muni-Pomadze Ramsar site is located the western coastland of Winneba comprising the Muni Lagoon, flood plain and sandy beach. The upland vegetation is a grassland with inland area being two forests reserves; Yenku Block A and B. The major threats to the site have been over-fishing, hunting, collection of wood fuel or firewood and bushfires. There are over 50 water-bird species that include herons and egrets Calidris ferruginea, Charidrius hiaticula, Tringa nebularia, Himantopus himantopus, Chlidonias and t niger, Sterna hirundo, S. maxima and S. sandvicensis. Also recorded are duck and comorant.

Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site: The Keta Ramsar site is the largest among all Ramsar sites in Ghana spanning several communities in a stretch of over 40km. Some of the communities which are Keta, Tegbi, Woe and Angloga, Fiahor, Adina and Afiadenyigba depend mainly on the lagoon for fishing and vegetable farming. These communities lie between the sea to the south and the lagoon to the north and had suffered immensely from sea erosion that has wiped away large sections of the settlements. Population density in the area is one of the highest in the country. The lagoon is mainly fed from the Todzie Rive and many small river tributaries on the northern section. The fringes of the lagoon has mangrove swamps and an inland vegetation of flood plain with marsh and scrub. Here are found countless variety of bird species in large numbers. Also have been recorded are three species of marine turtles, Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas and Dermochelys coriacea is very high along the coastline.

Sakumo: The Sakumo Ramsar, 30km west of Tema, like the other Ramsar sites in Ghana was designated in 1992. It is sepaSongor: Songor Ramsar site rated from the sea by the Tema –Accra beach road and connected to the sea by two channels constructed to control flooding of the road. The lagoon with the northern area with a coastal savanna grassland is considered fetish and sacred and the Black Heron or Egretta ardesiaca also considered as such. It Ramsar site is one of the few open-green areas left between Accra and Tema.

Songor Ramsar Site is located Songor in the Ga Dangbe District of Greater Accra Region, stretches 20km along the coast and 8km inland with many small islands with brackish water and salt pans. The area is often replenished by the sea water but also get its main inflows from freshwater sources such as Sege and Zano rivers. The vegetation is mainly coastal savanna with mangroves, waterlogged grassland and riverine woodland. The site is most popular for bird-watching and salt production.