Mole National Park, the largest protected area in Ghana, is historically confronted with threats like poaching, illegal harvesting of trees and cattle grazing. A main driver behind these threats has been the lack of local participation in the management of the park and the absence of benefit sharing arrangements. IUCN NL seeks a solution to these problems by supporting the NGO A Rocha in an approach called Community Resource Management Area (CREMA). A CREMA is a newly developed legal framework for community based management of natural resources. It provides the conditions and rules that enable communities to really benefit from sustainable natural resource use and as such promotes community rights and local ownership.
IUCN NL is supporting the CREMA approach in about 3.000.000 hectares in Ghana divided over four different projects . One of the examples include the Kaden and Yazori communities on the south-eastern border of Mole National Park, where IUCN NL partner A Rocha has established two CREMAs of around 40.000 hectares and works on an extension of that area with another 55,000ha. The two CREMA have resulted in clear regulations for the management of natural resources on the fringes of the National Park. It contributed to an improved relationship between park management and the communities and has stimulated community participation in the national park management. This involves building local capacity to report on illegal activities. The results are now seen in increased community monitoring and regulation of illegal activities like chainsaw and illegal bush meat trade. Community and district level institutions have been created to provide management support for sustainable natural resource management at both levels. The project supported communities to the diversify local production systems, on the one hand by introducing a micro-lending scheme, and on the other hand by improving the capacities of institutions responsible for the management of natural resources in and around Mole National Park. Over 50 households have benefited from up-scaling of beekeeping activities, introduction of donkey cart systems, improvement of agricultural seed stock varieties and market linkages. The microcredit scheme is now up and running to support small scale initiatives of local community members. For the first time in 10 years, these remote villages were able to access agricultural and veterinary extension services.
This project has also led to the increase of certified organic Shea nut production. Recent deregulation of the trade in Shea nuts and Shea butter combined with the increased demand for Shea as a cocoa butter substitute and as a ‘natural’ cosmetic product. In partnership with Savanna Fruits Company (SFC), A Rocha Ghana facilitated the certification process for Shea in its project areas. SFC buys directly from the communities at a price 15% higher than what is offered on the local market and this has significantly increased local incomes.
Mole National Park consists of a savannah ecosystem with elephants, antelopes, bushbucks, monkeys, warthogs, baboons and other smaller wildlife. As the growing human population puts increased pressure on already fragmented natural habitats, a large protected area like Mole National Park (484.000 ha) is of great importance for the survival of species. In 2007 IUCN NL financed A Rocha to establish the first two CREMAs around the park. In the current project an additional two new similar CREMAs area the area are put in place and the management of all four buffer zone areas will be improved. To improve the sustainable management of the four CREMAs around Mole National Park A Rocha organizes trainings on wildlife monitoring and the rehabilitation of degraded vegetation. Furthermore, support is given to change traditional production systems to more sustainable systems with a focus on products that do not require the logging of trees.
 EGP; Ghana; Arocha; Local communities creating nature reserves in Ghana (Jan Kamstra)
 EA; Ghana; Arocha; Expansion of buffer zones around Mole National Park (Jan Kamstra)