Relief & Drainage
The south-central part of the district including the Ankasa Forest Reserve is an area of rolling granite topography consisting of frequent steep-sided small round hills rising to 200-600 feet or no flat uplands and no broad valleys.
Around the coastal area, the relief is lower consisting of flattish upland areas and steep valleys.
A minor relief feature is the one formed by a ridge of highland running northwest to southeast from the Tano to Bonyere that terminates on its northern side in the Nawulley scarp.
Mainly the Tano, Ankasa, Suhwen, Elloin and Amanzulle Rivers and their tributaries drain the district. The other water body of importance is the Dwenye Lagoon
Climate & Rainfall
Although gaps in climatic records on the District make them unreliable for planning purposes, the district is believed to be the wettest part of the country.
Temperature in the District is generally very high with a monthly mean of 26 C. Relative humidity throughout the district is also very high about 90% during the night and falling to about 75% when temperature rises in the afternoon.
The climatic conditions including rainfall (amount, variability and distribution), relative humidity and temperature are critical for successful agriculture (including its storage and haulage to markets).
Knowledge of the climatic conditions is also important in selecting the appropriate types of road surfacing and the timing of development.
A high rainfall, falling in two wet seasons and a uniformly high temperature characterizes the climate of the district.
The climate is classified as Equatorial Monsoon and owes its rains to low pressure areas over the Sahara attracting winds from the South of the Equator.
The climate is favorable for plant growth and it is the climate rather than the soil, which is the greatest asset of the district. The harmattan air mass that brings dry conditions comes under the effects of the Monsoon and the Equatorial mass. The result is a variable weather, which includes moderate to very heavy rains.
The temperature conditions in the area readily support the cultivation of tropical crops such as cassava, oil palm and maize. Farmers can take advantage of the double rainfall seasons to increase production of crops.
Maize, for instance, can be grown and harvested in both the major and lean seasons. The climatic conditions also favor fishing. Farmers in the District need to take advantage of the climatic condition in order to improve their income.
The district lies within the forest belt of Ghana. The original vegetation in the interior parts of the district is the Tropical Rain Forest type characterized by its evergreen scenery with a vast variety of plant species.
The present vegetation is made up of :
i) Forest reserve (Ankasa) characterized by original high forest where cultivation is not allowed.
ii) Areas of fallow land and tree crops, farms/plantations and wasteland.
iii) Major areas of swamp forest which have not seen much cultivation because of their
Waterlogged nature for most times of the year.
Characteristics of the Coastal Zone
This section provides detailed information on the coastal zone of the Jomoro District. It is incorporated into the DMTDP through the support from Friends of the Nation.
The Coastal Resources Center of the University of Rhode Island, Friends of the Nation, SustainaMetrix and WorldFish gathered the information under this section from the ICM toolkit, which was developed under ICFG initiative implemented.
The Jomoro District shoreline is relatively rural with a mix of land and water uses, which underpin local cultures and livelihoods. It is characterized by a long stretch of relatively flat sandy beaches and dune systems with elevation below 10 metres.
The majority of the district’s population lives in dense fishing settlements with fish landing and processing areas on the first dune. This population is hemmed between the sea and the vast Amanzule wetlands.
Few hills of rocky outcrops protrude between the sandy beaches and sometimes extend into the sea forming rocky seabeds. The shoreline from the western boundary of Ghana to Ahobre is part of a narrow, 7-10km wide strip of land which bounds the Abby lagoon which is mostly in La Cote D’;Ivoire. Until recently, this was the main international route across the border to Abidjan by ferry, with the District Capital, Half Assini, as its heart, also the centre for a thriving coconut industry.
The route dips back from the coast at Ahobre to circumvent the Domunli Lagoon, which has the town of Bonyere at its eastern side. From Bonyere to Beyin is a further long stretch of coast with coconut groves separating fishing villages. Beyin is the location of a paramount chieftaincy of the Nzema people, and a growing tourist resort with the Nzulezu stilt village inland on the Amanzule Lake, as its star attraction.
The coastline is linked to, rivers, estuaries and the greater part of the vast ecologically significant Amanzule wetland complex that provides habitats for diverse flora and fauna. In the uplands there are forests and rich agricultural lands.
Characteristics of coastal zone: off-shore marine areas fisheries
The off-shore areas of the coastal zone are actively used by the artisanal (traditional) fishing fleets. Fishing is also the province of larger, Ghana-based semi-industrial fishing vessels and industrial, intercontinental vessels.
There are locally breeding fish, those inhabiting the Guinean current across West Africa and those that migrate across larger distances (such as blue whales). Surveys have been carried out to determine the location and type of marine life including juvenile fish and their breeding, and Marine Protected Areas are being proposed to protect fisheries and improve food security.
Marine areas experience many other uses such as for a local, national and international highway, for leisure, cables, pipelines, oil and gas exploitation.
The Marine areas are subject to increasing kinds of pollution from the wastes of marine and non-marine activities (dumping of waste).
As capacity for coastal management increases, spatial planning for the seascape will be necessary to ensure harmony between traditional uses of the sea for fishing and oil and gas production activities. Marine Spatial Plans are now being used throughout the world to cope with the increasing pressures.
Characteristics of coastal zone: areas of restoration & preservation
The coastal zone of Jomoro is associated with wetlands, mangroves, lagoons, rivers and estuaries. These provide essential ecosystem services and are also critical for maintaining a healthy fishery.
These ecosystems are a priority for conservation. Some of these ecosystems are already officially recognized and those that are of more local significance should also be differentiated.
Ultimately this could include the marine part of the coastal zone with protected areas such as Marine Conservation Areas and Sanctuaries, Fishery Conservation and Closure Areas, and Essential Fish Habitats.
Relief, drainage & Climate:
Coastal dynamics, human uses and implications Shoreline Beaches, Dunes and Barrier Spits : Human and natural hazards.
Due to the action of wind, waves, current and rising sea level in recent decades, most barrier beaches in Ghana are retreating at a rate of about 1m per year and in the Western region, are estimated to be retreating at 2m per year on the average. Erosion, sea level rise, and sand winning from the beach can all result in land loss and the inland movement of the shoreline.
While the rate of erosion slightly varies from one coastal community to the other, sections of the shoreline in the district are noted to have eroded by approximately 50 meters over the past 2 decades, causing the disappearance of buildings, farm lands and other properties.
This phenomenon still continues due to high sea wave energy and evolving sea level rise due to climate change. And it has initiated a difficult process of relocation. For instance, most people who lived in Old Kabenlansuazo moved to resettle at New Kabenlansuazo about 50 years ago. Other communities facing greater impact of coastal erosion include Metika and Twenen.
Most stakeholders in the coastal communities accept the fact sand winning contributes immensely to coastal erosion. But their perception is that small scale sand winning, for household use such as building and its rehabilitation does not significantly add up to the problem.
In almost all the coastal communities, there are traces of coastal erosion. In most communities, properties and activities that prevailed at the beach in the past such as playgrounds, coconuts, cemeteries, roads and houses have been destroyed. For instance, in Twenen, community members noted that their current residence marked their third settlement.
Their last place was called Twenwo, and they predict that they might have to move again in the next 20 years. Similarly, in Ellonyi, a coastal community located near the River Ellonyi; a vehicular road and coconut trees located near the beach about 35 years ago have been destroyed by erosion.
Likewise in Ngelekazo, inhabitants noted that there has been increasing coastal erosion dated 70 years ago and has destroyed key recreational areas and coconut plantations. The situation and destruction of property is not different from Old Kabenlansuazo, Agyeza, Allengenzule, Ezinlibo and Egbazo. Particularly in Egbazo, residents described how their borehole that had been destroyed by erosion.
River estuaries, Drainage Outflows, Mangroves, Wetlands, Marshlands and Coastal Lagoons
Wetlands and coastal water resources serve vital functions in the environment. They provide habitat for many plants and animals, including migratory birds and many types of fish. Mangrove areas, in particular, are important to the overall health of the marine fisheries, because they provide habitats for shellfish as well as nursery grounds to juvenile fish. Mangrove wood is harvested for a variety of purposes, but this practice should be limited due to the damage to wetlands that over harvesting causes.
From a hydrologic perspective, wetlands serve to dampen the effects of changing water levels, thereby providing protection from flooding.
In the process of slowing floodwaters, wetlands trap and store sediments, limiting erosion and in some cases actually building up soil.
Through this process, they protect coastal waters from excessive runoff and sedimentation. Coastal communities often rely on these areas for their drinking supply, so maintaining the flow levels and cleanliness of the water is vital to community health.
Wetlands are easy targets for dumping of waste and infilling because they lack existing users or owners. They are also under threat from indiscriminate cutting of mangroves for fire wood for cooking and fish smoking.
The practice is very common, partly due to low level of awareness of their ecological functions and services.
In most coastal communities in the Jomoro district, there is intense cutting of mangroves around the lagoon as well as building of houses near wetlands.
Vegetation, flora, tropical foliage Forests, Wildlife
The current majority land use in Jomoro District is by the wetlands, subsistence farms, trees and forest. Of greatest significance in terms of carbon sequestration, freshwater supply, fish habitat and flood control is the Amanzule wetland, which straddles Jomoro, Ellembelle and Nzema East and extends to the border with neighboring Côte d’ Ivoire. Even with its close proximity to the coast, this wetland is largely a freshwater system except along its southeastern terminus where the outlet parallels the coast before finally emptying into the sea near Azulenoanu.
This ecosystem is composed of several wetland categories including swamp and mangrove forests and holds Ghana’s only known peat swamp forest and the country’s largest intact swamp forest. A baseline land cover for the Amanzule area has been defined to assist in change detection and analysis going forward.
The Ankasa Forest Reserve is the major Forest Reserve in the District, and is one of the largest designated for ‘protection’ rather than ’production’ in Ghana. The park recognized for its guided nature walk by most tourist remains of high significance due to its high plant diversity, indigenous forest birds, monkeys especially chimpanzee and forest elephants.
Coastal communities combine farming and fishing for their livelihoods, with a mixture of cash and subsistence food crops. Their farming has suffered from the severe decline of the formerly prosperous coconut crop through Cape St Paul Wilt disease, which slowly spread throughout the coast from 1932.
This fed lucrative pig farming and coconut oil production. Rather than replant expensive and slower growing disease-resistant coconut hybrids, farmers have switched to less profitable oil palm.
This has added to the pressure on livelihoods from declining fish stocks. Subsistence food crop areas suffer from over exploitation and subdivision among increasing number of family members.
The balance between income from cash crops and land available for food, is a key factor in sustaining livelihoods and food security.
The mapping of rural land uses will enable decisions to be made about the most efficient balance of uses.
This designation of land for agriculture, added to protected areas/ corridors for wildlife will enable the best decisions to be taken about which areas are suitable for urbanization, tourism, leisure and industrial development.
Traditionally, land was in the “customary ownership” of chiefs, who dispensed and allocated it on behalf of their people. Subsequently the colonial authorities negotiated treaties under Romano-British law, which led to individual land titles and leases being granted, and substantial land being taken into government ownership.
Where most land is not registered, there are frequent conflicts over its ownership. Families who have subsisted on the land for generations are summarily evicted without compensation, and incoming investors are caught up in land disputes so that nothing materializes.
In areas around Bonyere, for example, farmers (coconut plantation owners) are agitating for adequate compensation for fruit trees destroyed by authorities to make way for gas pipeline laying.
All of this requires that the land agencies should work more closely with local communities; that land transfers by chiefs should be transparent; and that adequate compensation systems are in place where families are dispossessed of their land by development.
The land agencies currently operate in a very separate institution. By resolving this element, the implementation of Integrated Coastal Management will become easier.