Physical and Natural Environment
The physical and the natural environment are essential elements or factors for determining socio-economic development of the municipal. This stems from the fact that apart from being potential resources, they also serve as framework within which all development activities take place. The major factors that need critical analysis and their implications for development in the municipal under physical and natural environment include location and size, climate, vegetation, relief and drainage, soil, geology and minerals, deforestation, mining and quarrying, bushfires, soil erosion and natural disasters etc. The interaction between the human and physical environment and its development implication with respect to the above major factors are clearly and briefly described below.
Location and Size
The Bibiani- Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipal is one of the Nine Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts in the Western Region. The Municipal is located between latitude 6° N, 3° N and longitude 2° W, 3° W. The municipal is bounded on the North by the Atwima Mponua District in the Ashanti Region, South by the Wassa Amenfi West in the Western Region, West by the Sefwi Wiawso District in the Western Region and East by the Denkyira North and Amansie East in the in the Central Region and Ashanti region respectively.
The total land area of the municipal is 873 km square. Figures 1 and 2 below shows the municipal in the regional and national context.
Themunicipal capital, Bibiani is located 356 km to the northwest of Sekondi-Takoradi (the Regional Capital) and 88km to Kumasi, the nearest commercial centre.
The municipal closeness in terms of its proximity to large commercial centre such as Kumasi coupled with good highway, makes it attractive in doing business in the municipal. As a result, the municipal experience a very good market day for food stuff especially among subsistence farmers who dominate the municipal’s population.
Free flow of information from the regional and national level is hampered by the long distances between the district capital and its regional and national capitals. Apparently, this situation results in high administrative cost for the Municipal Assembly and other organizations, agencies operating in the municipal. Prospective investors who want to invest in the municipal are somehow reluctant due to the above-mentioned bottlenecks. The maps below indicate the Political/District Map, the District in Regional and National context.
The municipal is located in the equatorial climate with the annual rainfall average between 1200mm and 1500mm.The pattern is bimodal, falling between March – August and September- October. The dry season is noticeable between November- January and the peak periods are June and October. The average temperature throughout the year is about 26°c.There is a high relative humidity averaging between 75% in the afternoon and 95% in the night and early morning.
The implication of the climate of the Municipal is that is suitable for the growing of various crops particularly both cash and food crops. This is the reason why the municipal is one of the leading producers of the cash crop like cocoa in Ghana.
The good climatic condition provides suitable water table which is good in potable water (boreholes and hand-dug wells) provision in the district. However, the recently changed in the climatic conditions of the district from previously short dry season (harmattan) to almost long dry season has damaging effects on the environment and farm outputs.
The heavy and prolonged rains associated with this type of climate adversely affect cocoa harvest (drying of cocoa beans), and aggravates the black pod disease that attacks cocoa. In addition, almost all the untarred roads in the Municipal become unmotorable during the rainy season.
The Municipal’s vegetation is of the moist semi-deciduous (equatorial rain forest) type. The forest vegetation is made up of many different tree species including wawa (Triplochiton selerexylon), mahogany (Khaya invorensis), esa (Celtis), ofram (Terminalia superba), edinam (Entandro phragma ivorensio), onyina (Ceiba petandra), kyenkyen (Antiaris Africana) and odum (Milicia exelsa), Sapele etc. Hence, the municipal is a suitable location for the establishment of timber firms.
There are six forest reserves in the district with the total area of about 264 sq.km as indicated in
Table 1.10. The forest reserves serve as tourist attractions in the municipal.
The six forest reserves are productive reserves where timber harvesting is done. Occasional bushfires, overexploitation and encroachment of land are threatening the existence of the reserves. The type of
climate has positive impact on the heavy rainfall experiences in the district. However, mechanized farming cannot be practised extensively in the district due to the dense forest cover.
Relief and Drainage
The municipal forms part of the country’s dissected plateau. The lowest and the highest points in themunicipal are 350m above sea level and 660m above sea level respectively. This highest point is also the highest in the Western Region at Attanyamekrom (Adiembra), near Sefwi Bekwai. A gently rolling landscape is found over lower Birimian rocks. Over the Tarkwaian rocks, the topography is rugged and hilly rather than smooth and flat or gently undulating.
The municipal is endowed with a number of rivers and streams, the most important of which is the Ankobra River. The streams and rivers exhibit a dendritic pattern, which forms the Ankobra basin.
Other forming tributaries are Awa, Krodua, Atronsu, Subriso, Kroseini, Suraw, Chira and Akataso.
The relief and drainage systems favour the development of fish farming, and cultivation of valley bottom rice, sugarcane and dry season vegetables. The rivers can also be taped as resources for future establishment of irrigation schemes and production of potable water for the people in the municipal. Due to the relatively low level of relief in the municipal, road construction is less difficult and expensive. However, the presence of many rivers and streams in themunicipalalso makes road construction at times very difficult and expensive. Figure 3 indicates the drainage system or map of the municipal.
Geology and Minerals
The geology for the municipal is dominated by the Precambrian Metamorphic rocks of the Birrimian and Tarkwain formation which contains the mineral bearing rocks. There are also granite rocks and deposit of minerals such as gold and bauxite. The Oxysols soils are rich in mineral deposits making mining the most important and lucrative economic activity in the district. The companies dealing in mining include; Mensin Gold Limited at Bibiani; Chirano Goldfield Limited at Chirano and Bossai Minerals Limited at Awaso. The presence of mineral deposits in the district has the potential to generate royalties as revenue to the District Assembly as well as create employment for the inhabitants. It also implies that there is going to be influx of people to the district by the operations of the mining.|
The district is endowed with rich forest ochrosols and forest oxysols which support the cultivation of a wide variety of crops including cocoa, coffee, oil palm, plantain, cocoyam and cassava, etc and other vegetables. It also makes the district to have a comparative advantage in agriculture and agro-processing. Fig.3 indicates the soil types in the District.
The Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District has large tracts of forest and economic trees. However, the high exploitation of timber for logs and lumber by both registered timber firms and illegal chainsaw operators has contributed significantly to deforestation in the district. Unchecked farming practices including cocoa farming has also compounded the situation through encroachment on the virgin forest and forest reserves. The development of settlements within and around the forest such as Aboduabo and others which depend on the forest for their livelihoods also impacts negatively on the forest. The heavily dependent of the people on firewood and charcoal for energy has seriously affected both secondary and virgin forests in the district.
For instance a total of 252.52 Ha of depleted land or forest was recorded during the last plan period. This situation has serious implications such as threat to livelihood, soil degradation, forest depletion, adverse climatic conditions and endangered species in the district.
However, sand winning is done haphazardly in the district, which destroys the environment and the vegetative cover. This poses a threat to animal, plant and human life.
Bushfires and Soil Erosion
The traditional method of farming, which involves the slash and burn, coupled with indiscriminate burning of bush by unscrupulous people during the short dry season (harmattan) is practised in the district. It was on records at the District Forestry Services Division that 28.2 Ha area of bushfire was recorded from 2010-2013. This action or activity leads to the depletion of the soil nutrients and low agricultural production among farmers in the district.
Furthermore, the destructive nature of bushfires results in loss of farms and forest, thereby leading to loss of income and properties to individual farmers and the municipal as a whole.
The rainfall pattern in the municipal has resulted in erosion in some of the communities; examples include Awaso, Asempaneye, and Aboduabo. The depletion of the forest stock because of excessive lumbering, destructive agricultural practices, mining and bush burning have all led to the deterioration of the land exposing the bare land surface leading to erosion.
The implication is that there should proper drainage systems in these communities to prevent the erosion from further destroying the buildings and create big gullies.
With the exception of torrential rainfalls, pest insect infestation such armyworm and anthrax and occasional bush and domestic fires which sometimes cause extensive destruction to crops and properties, the municipal is not seriously prone to natural disasters. This could serve as an incentive to attract potential investors to the municipal.
Conditions of Built Environment
The built environment (settlements) in the municipal lacks development control or settlement plans apart from Bibiani, the municipal capital. Settlements are built haphazardly with poor quality building materials, which have resulted in poor housing quality. Most houses have structural defects: extinctive cracks, appear dilapidated, weak foundations, and ripped off or leaking roofs. Only a small proportion of the houses in the municipal can be considered to be in good shape and contain basic facilities especially the few major towns such as Bibiani, Anhwiaso, Bekwai, Chirano, etc, .
Generally, the housing situation in the municipal is not a problem of quantity but quality. Haphazard built environment constrains easy physical accessibility to individual houses and creates poor ventilation. The dilapidated and poor structures also serve as death traps and a health hazard to the inhabitants which has serious implication on the already small income of the people and the government.
Air pollution is also one of the environmental problems cause by the use of energy sources in the municipal which comes from the mining activities and fuse from vehicles.
Sanitation management in the municipal is not good. The open dumping system of refuse disposal is practised. Apart from the municipal capital and few major towns where Zoomlion Ghana Limited operates, refuse generally is not well organised and managed in the municipal.
The Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipal is not very much endowed with aesthetic features. Nonetheless, its abundant virgin forest, flora and fauna as well as other tourist attractions such as the rich Alue Festival celebrated by the chiefs and people every year. The other equally important features or sites which are pleasing to the eyes or to watch are Mountains Scenry at Sefwi Bekwai, Mud Fish Pond at Sefwi Bekwai, Conveyer Belt at Awaso Bauxite Company, Mining Sites at Bibiani, Chirano and Awaso, Manmade Lake at Bibiani, Ankobra River(Salt) and the various hotels in the municpal They serve as potentials for the development of the tourism industry and total development of the municipal.
Land Management (Land Tenure System)
Land management in the municipal is in the hands of the traditional rulers, family heads and other landowners. Farmers and prospective land developers purchase or secure land from the traditional leaders. The land is mainly used for the cultivation of both cash and food crops such as cocoa, coffee, palm nut, maize, cassava, plantain, cocoyam, yam and vegetables etc. Part of the land is also used as forest reserves and settlement development. The abunu and abusa land tenancy are widely used in the municipal for the cultivation of food and cash crops.
Occasionally, there are incidence of fraud and improper transfer of land, which eventually lead to litigations. The various land uses in the municipal is indicated in the land use map (Fig. 5) of the municipal. The almost non-existence of problems associated with land uses in the municipal is a potential source of attracting prospective investors in the municipal.
Date Created : 11/19/2017 2:41:29 AM