Kumasi, Aug 24, GNA- The Ghana Association for the Conservation of Nature (GACON), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) is to develop a five-hectare forest reserve at New Kagyase neat Santasi in Kumasi into tourists centre to help raise income to development the community.
The association is also to construct an eco-housing accommodation for offices, conference centre and research centre for the development of the forest reserve.
Dr Frimpong Mensah, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Board chairman of GACON, disclosed this when he received a plan on a plot of land donated to the association by Nana Adu Ameyaw, chief of New Kagyase in Kumasi on Sunday.
He said the association, established in 1988, aims at conserving threatened and endangered tree species and regenerate resources for the preservation of biological diversity, maintenance of life support system and ensure sustainable use of biological resources.
Dr Mensah said its activities have revolved around rehabilitation, maintenance or establishment of local reserves of remnant forest, sacred groves, burial grounds and watersheds in close collaboration with local communities.
He said the association had worked with communities like Jachie-Pramso in Ashanti, Tano-Boase and Buoyem in the Brong-Ahafo region and helped them to generate income from their natural reserves through the promotion of eco-tourism while at the same time preserving it for posterity.
Mrs Valerie Fumey Nassah, who is a board member of GACON, said the association has been establishing links with international bodies to solicit assistance to fund activities in the communities and mentioned some of the donors, which have supported the organisation as the Global Environmental Facility, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Luso Consult.
She said a management committee made up of the people from the community and the association would soon be set up to ensure the development and management of the forest.
Mrs Nassah on behalf of the association, thanked the chief and the people for donating the land towards the construction of offices, conference and research centres.
Nana Ameyaw said the New Kagyase forest reserve has been preserved for decades and hoped that the decision by the association to develop it into tourists centre would greatly enhance the development of the community.
He warned the people to avoid encroaching on the forest and assist in developing it for future posterity.