Environmental Situation

Conditions Of  The Natural Environment

Arable Lands: Arable lands are available for investment. The lands are relatively flat with the exception of areas around Lake Bosomtwe where hilly lands are found.

Bush Burning: There is a lot of indiscriminate bush burning by farmers and other people annually. This attitude by people results in soil degradation, distribution of flora and fauna (plants and animals) is affected. Most of the forest in the district has turned into savannah.

Logging Situation: Logging is less intensive in the district especially in the Bosomtwe area. However, there is much felling of trees as fuel wood in almost all parts of the district.

Afforestation: Teak trees have been cultivated in most areas of theDistrict. Atwima area records the highest number. There is also a Non- Governmental Organization with Agro- Forestry Programme along the Lake Basin.

Wildlife Sanctuary: This can be located at Jachie and Behenase with 11.5 hectares and 10.4 hectares respectively. These lands are exempted from all farming activities.

Sand and Stone: There is the presence of sand and stone in the district. As a result, there are a lot of sand and stone winning activities that are Mainly found in Adagya, Sawua, Ayuom, Tetrefu, Atobiase, Jachie, Abuontem, Asafo Ampabame, Kwanwoma, Trede, Twedie and Hemang.

Forest: The district has extensive forests with the existence of species such As mahogany and wawa. Unauthorized lumbering activities are found in   most communities under the Boneso Area Council. Notable amongst them are Mim, Asisiriwa and Brodekwano. Crop farming also occurs in the forest, providing employment for about 53% of the population. The people practice slash and burn. Most of the inhabitants use fuel wood obtained from the forest as their main source of energy.

Conditions Of The Built Eenvironment

Out of the one hundred and thirty (130) settlements in the district, only thirty- two (32) have approved planning schemes. i.e. 24.6%. The direction of physical growth is towards the Atwima- Kwanwoma section. The physical growth of settlements in the district is determined by

1.    Distance between the settlement and the Kumasi Metropolis
2.    Presence of infrastructure
3.    Socio- economic factors
4.    Availability of employment
5.    The tourism factor
6.    Chieftaincy disputes
7.    Land values
8.    Presence of an approved planning scheme

Types of Housing
Indigenous Area (Old Town): The indigenous live in “old towns”. The buildings are predominantly the compound or family house type. The roofing is mainly the gable type. Material used for roofing is the corrugated iron sheet. However, those that have been renovated have been replaced with corrugated aluminium sheets.

Most of the houses have mud or wattle and daub walls that have been plastered with cement where financially possible. The built environment is characterized by poor drains and total absence of drains in some cases, leading to the creation of filth, dirty environs, gullies and erosion.

Newly Developing Areas: The house types in the newly developing areas are mainly the single household type (bungalow type) and semi- detached flat types, some of them being storey buildings.
The roofing types are the ’Leanto’ and gable roofs which are mainly aluminium sheets and in a few cases, roofing tiles. Materials used for fascia are concrete or wooden boards. Foundations of the buildings within a radius of 8 miles from Kumasi are in a fairly good condition, in contrast to those of buildings surroundings surrounding the Lake and in the interior. These areas have been subject to erosion over the years.

Aesthetic Features: The Lake Bosomtwe is an aesthetic feature of prime importance with the potential of serving as a tourist resort in the district. Currently the lakefront at Abono is a tourist attraction site. Abono itself and areas around it are being developed in haphazard manner. Due to the tourism factor, the chiefs around the Lake are selling off their lands without recourse to the planning process. There is not a single approved layout for these settlements, which are being demarcated by unqualified surveyors.

Land Management: All lands in the district belong principally to the stools and should therefore be administered by the chiefs and elders. However, with increasing demand for land for building there has been mounting tension and litigation between the families that farm on those lands and the caretaker chiefs. This is due to the loss of land and subsequent loss of livelihood for those farming on those lands. Some are of the notion that since they farm on those lands, they own the lands. Thus in order to gain materially from the land, they dispose them without the knowledge of the chiefs.

Because of pressure on land, the chiefs resort to the use of unqualified persons who invariably demarcate all the lands for residential development and also demarcate public lands for private purposes. The rush for land by developers for the construction of tourism facilities has led to unauthorized development.

Due to the growing importance of the Abono area, there are serious issues of land litigation. This has to be resolved early in order to facilitate development in an orderly manner. To forestall these haphazard developments as a matter of urgency a planning scheme should be prepared for the Lake Basin.

Key Development Problems

  • Demarcation of land without approved planning schemes especially the Lake Basin
  • Loss of tree cover in areas where there is unauthorized lumbering. This leads to the drying up of streams.
  • Land degradation in areas where sand winning is very active. This subjects these areas to flooding and breeding of mosquitoes in areas where there are stagnant waters.
  •  Increasing landlessness especially amongst the women and the youth, thus increasing unemployment and exacerbating poverty.
  • Small land sizes imply that the land is over cropped, thus decreasing soil fertility.
  • Haphazard physical development leads to unauthorized extensions, thus blocking lanes, which could serve as escape routes in times of disaster and emergency.
  • Unplanned physical development impacts negatively on food production, as land is not set aside for agricultural activities.
  • Haphazard physical developments lead to poor environmental sanitation.
  • High cot of base map preparation leaves the chiefs with no option but to hire unqualified personnel.
  • In areas where there are no layouts and approved schemes forms cannot be sold out, the District Assembly loses a lot of revenue.
  • If the area of the Lake Basin is not properly planned and demarcated, its attraction to investors may not be positive.
  • The activities of timber contractors and sand winners have impacted negatively on the physical environment.
  • Roads in areas where such activities are rampant have deteriorated considerably owing to the heavy- duty trucks plying those routes. The roads are barely motorable during the rainy season.
  • Neglect of afforestation by timber contractors have resulted in the depletion of the forest. This is compounded by the destruction of young trees.
  • General land depletion in areas where sand winning is rampant, leading to stagnation of water during rainy season. This leads to the breeding of mosquitoes and the subsequent increase in malaria.
  • The slash and burn method of farming has reduced certain portions of the forest to secondary forest.

Spatial Analysis
This section highlights the facilities available in various settlements in the district and degree to which the settlements depend on one another i.e. the functions they perform.

Settlement Size And Functions: Scalogram Analysis
From the survey, the various services and facilities available in 20 settlements in the district were identified. The 2000 Population and Housing Census for the settlements were used. The settlements were then rank-ordered. A cut-off point was set at 2000 and it was observed that most settlements with population of below 2000 had four or five facilities. Few settlements, however, do not have any facility. 

Then the facilities and services available were identified and weighted. The total centrality index for each settlement was calculated by adding all the weighted centrality (which was the total centrality divided by the number of functions) applicable to each settlement. For example, the index for Nwineso No. 1 was obtained by 5, 5, 5.6, 5, 5, 20, 11.1, 5, 14.3=76 (refer to table)

From the results obtained, settlement with centrality index above 300 emerged as the first hierarchy level. Those settlements with indices between 100 and 200 constitute the second order. Settlements with indices below 100 fall within the third hierarchy level.

Kuntanase, the district capital and Jachie constitute the only first order settlement. The second order settlements are made up of Esereso, Trede and Aburaso and the rest form the third order hierarchy.

The analysis reveals some major facts. There is the absence of a weekly market in the district.  There is also only one Lorry Park at Kuntanase. Poor road network is a major factor contributing to the underdevelopment of the area. Poor roads network is a major factor contributing to the underdevelopment of the area. The scalogram for various settlements is found in the Table below