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Biodiversity studies in three Coastal Wetlands in Ghana, West Africa

A. A. Oteng-Yeboah


Plant biodiversity studies of three coastal wetlands in Ghana were made. The wetlands are the Sakumo, Muni-Pomadze and Densu Delta Ramsar sites. Each wetland is made up of a flood plain which consists of salt marsh (about 20%), mangrove swamps (between 15 and 30%), fresh water swamp (about 40 - 45%), and in some cases grassland (20 to 40%). Densu delta site had the highest number of species (136) as against 133 for Muni-Pomadze and 114 for Sakumo. Forty plant families were represented by their species in all the sites. However certain families were restricted only to specific sites. Nine of such families were in Muni-Pomadze, 3 in Sakumo and 2 in Densu Delta. These families and their species add uniqueness to each of the sites studied. Sesuvium portulacastrum, Paspalum vaginatum and Sporobolus virginicus were characteristic for salt marsh and fresh water swamps while Avicennia africana was the dominant species in the mangrove swamp. For the strand, Ipomoea pes-caprae, Canavalia rosea and Opuntia vulgaris were the characteristic species. For the scrub vegetation, various woody plant species dominated at the different Ramsar sites. However, Azadirachta indica, a naturalised tree species, was very well represented in all sites, and indeed dominated in the Sakumo Ramsar site. It is expected that these studies will lay the strong scientific basis for the future management and strategic plans for the sustainable development of these three Ramsar sites in Ghana.

JOURNAL OF THE GHANA SCIENCE ASSOCIATION Volume 1 Number 3, July (1999) pp. 147-149