The secondary impact of mining on primates and other medium to large mammals in forest reserves in southwestern Ghana

Erasmus H. Owusu, Benjamin Y. Ofori*, Daniel K. Attuquayefio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The upsurge of mining in Africa promises substantial economic development opportunities, but poses serious threats to the continent's natural environment and rich biodiversity. We assessed the impact of mining on medium to large mammals in the Western Region of Ghana. We surveyed mammals in the project area and two forest reserves (FRs) before the commencement of mining operations and 10 years after mine closure and forest rehabilitation. The methodology involved direct and indirect observations along transects as well as focus group discussions. We found declines in species diversity of primates and other medium to large mammals in the core mining areas and within FRs. Forest rehabilitation after mine closure did not allow recovery of mammals in the core areas to previous levels in the FRs, as potential sources of colonisers from the FRs were removed. The discussants consumed bushmeat regularly, and agreed that mammal diversity in the area had declined due to noise from mining operations and hunting within FRs. Our data suggest that mining impacted negatively on medium to large mammal diversity. Greater management effort is needed to regulate hunting in forest reserves adjoining mining areas to avoid extirpation of primates and other wildlife species from Ghana's rainforest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • biodiversity conservation
  • protected areas
  • surface mining
  • tropical rainforest
  • wildlife species

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