24 Aug 2016
Freshwater Habitats and Odonata Conservation: Research and Community Education in Pra Basin, Southern Ghana
The project aims at providing baseline information on the species population, distribution, ecology and conservation status of odonates, and test the Dragonfly Biotic Index (DBI). It will also produce colour guide of odonata in Ghana, create community awareness and train citizen scientist for odonata and freshwater conservation.
Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) are graceful, colourful creatures used as flagships for conservation, and vital to survival of life. Unfortunately, these species are currently threatened due to ongoing destruction of their habitat caused by illegal mining, riparian deforestation and negative public perception in Ghana. Apart from Rapid Assessment Survey made by K.D Dijkstra in 2007 which made the most comprehensive species list of Ghanaian odonata, no other extensive survey has been carried out in Ghana. Inadequate data on species population, distribution, ecology and conservation status makes it difficult to make long-term conservation decisions on the species.
This project will therefore survey for dragonflies and provide the crucial biological baseline information including their distribution, ecology and conservation status. For lasting conservation purposes, we will publish a pictorial guide with distributional atlas and species description for odonata in Ghana. The photo guide will make it easy for amateur odonatalogist to identify Ghanaian dragonflies and damselflies, increasing their interest and further broadening the network of dragonfly lovers and enthusiast. The species natal freshwater habitats which harbor other diverse sympatric wildlife species are also increasingly threatened which calls for immediate conservation intervention. We will therefore test the validity of the Dragonfly Biotic Index which is robust and widely accepted toolkit for monitoring and assessing freshwater quality.
Further, the project will draw attention to the plight of dragonflies through community awareness creation and public education. Education will teach children and adults alike to value dragonflies and their unique freshwater habitats. The project will be carried out in three major protected areas in Southern part of Ghana where forest degradation and freshwater resources depletion is escalating at a rapid rate. These protected areas are the Atewa Range Forest Reserve located in Eastern region, Bobiri Forest Reserve in the Ashanti Region and Ankassa Resource Reserve located in the Western Region of Ghana.