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Environmental Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage

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Assets for Tourism Development in the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area of Ghana

Environmental conservation and preservation of religio-cultural heritage for tourism development in the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area in the Eastern Region of Ghana have been examined in this paper. The location has a rich blend of dramatic landscape, historic relics and traditional cultures. Five traditional divisions make up the traditional area and have magnificent renewable natural resources including forests, waterfalls, rivers, caves and a rich diversity of wildlife and sanctuaries that could be developed further into a tourism destination site for the benefit of the area, in particular, and the state as a whole. The area has a unique cultural heritage, with the chieftaincy institution remaining as the center piece. The annual festivals of the chiefs and people of the traditional area, especially the Odwira festival, are celebrated annually by the people, and this attracts a considerable number of people including foreign tourists to the area. A complex and interrelated combination of factors threatens the further development and conservation of the environmental and cultural heritage of the area for tourism. These threats arise mainly from anthropogenic factors such as farming, forest logging, and bush fires, but also from the weakening of traditional institutions and limited national governmental support. Population-related pressures on land and other natural resources have affected traditional natural resources management. Fallow periods have been reduced and continuous cropping has become common. The growing demand for land and the presence of migrants have extended agriculture to marginal lands, forest reserves and some sacred sites. A number of recommendations have been made to enhance the preservation of the local cultural heritage and environmental conservation. Capacity building, education and public awareness creation, dialogue among various religious groups, collaborative management of natural resources, training and provision of alternative livelihoods have been suggested as options to conserve environmental and cultural heritage to boost environmental conservation and tourism development in the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area.

Affiliations: 1: Bureau of Integrated Rural Development, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Ghana; 2: Bureau of Integrated Rural Development, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Ghana; 3: Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Leeds, 12 Trentham Grove, Leeds,LS 11 6HT, United Kingdom,; 4: Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, KNUST, Kumasi Ghana


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