Newest Addition to the Sacred Seeds Sanctuaries: Tafi Atome in Ghana

The latest addition to the Sacred Seeds Sanctuary network is Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and Cultural Village in Ghana.  This is a community-protected sacred natural site.  It is a forest that is adjacent to the community of Tafi Atome, in the Volta Region of Ghana.

In 1996, the Nature Conservation Research Center (NCRC), an environmental organization based in the capital city of Accra, partnered with the community to have the sacred forest recognized as a conservation project.


Residents are very familiar with plant species within the forest that can be used for medicine.  There is also a Fetish Priest who has special status in the community to conduct ceremonies associated with the forest.  Some of the plants in the sanctuary that have local significance and use are the following: Mahogany; Mango; Nyamedua (God’s Plant); Pharock Ginseng (Akukor); and Papaya.  There are bylaws that prohibit the cutting down of trees in the sanctuary; with permission, you only pick what you need (either the bark, leaves or roots only--and for roots, the trees must be mature).


The community supports the sacred forest through community-based conservation and tourism.  Several publications exist about the sanctuary, including the following: 

·         Ormsby, A.  2012.  Cultural and Conservation Values of Sacred Forests in Ghana.  Chapter in Pungetti, G., G. Oviedo and D. Hooke (eds.)  Sacred Species and Sites: Advances in Biocultural Conservation.  Cambridge University Press.

·         Ormsby, A.  2012.  Perceptions of Tourism at Sacred Groves in Ghana and India.  RASAALA: Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia and Latin America  3(1): 1-18.

·         Ormsby, A. and C. Edelman.  2010.  Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana:  Community-Based Ecotourism at a Sacred Site.  Pgs. 233-243 in Verschuuren, B. and R. Wild (eds.) Sacred Natural Sites: Conserving Nature and Culture.  London:  Earthscan.

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