Behind the Myth: Indigenous Knowledge and Belief Systems in Natural Resource Conservation in North East Ghana
International Journal of Environmental Protection and Policy
Volume 2, Issue 3, May 2014, Pages: 104-112
Received: Apr. 27, 2014;
Accepted: Apr. 30, 2014;
Published: May 20, 2014
Views 3789 Downloads 531
Philip Aniah, Department of Development Studies, University for Development Studies WA, Ghana
Arkum Thaddeus Aasoglenang, Department of Community Development, University for Development Studies, WA, Ghana
Samuel Z. Bonye, Department of Community Development, University for Development Studies, WA, Ghana
Natural resource management issues in developing countries are increasingly mimicking western theories and the contribution of indigenous cultures and institutions are often overlooked. This research examines the role traditional belief systems and indigenous knowledge and practices have played in the management and conservation of natural environmental resources in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Some cultural practices and belief systems like sacrifices, worship, the Tindaanaship organization and the Tingaane civilization and how the Tindaanas (chief priest) communicates through the Tingaane (shrines and sacred groves) to the ancestral spirits or gods, how the people are punished if the gods are provoked were examined. The study revealed that the significant attribute of the belief systems that rest on the ascription of supernatural powers to some parts of the environment as the home of the gods has significantly helped to conserve the natural environment. The protection of these homes/areas from utilization, exploitation and use explicitly encourages conservation of environmental resources. Forbidden areas and totemic items/objects associated with worship immensely promoted conservation of resources. Over the years, traditional belief systems, practices and indigenous knowledge strategies that conserve the natural resources have been eroded or corroded by western cultural infiltration and religion. The study recommends a re-visitation of the traditional belief systems and cultural practices that promote the management, preservation and conservation of natural resources for the sustainable development of the Upper East Region and the nation at large.
Arkum Thaddeus Aasoglenang,
Samuel Z. Bonye,
Behind the Myth: Indigenous Knowledge and Belief Systems in Natural Resource Conservation in North East Ghana, International Journal of Environmental Protection and Policy.
Vol. 2, No. 3,
2014, pp. 104-112.
Abu, A. and Millar, D. (2004), Land, Natural Resource and Spirituality; Policy Implication on Rural Livelihood in Northern Ghana, CECIK, Bolgatanga, Ghana
Adam, W.M and Anderson, W, (1988), Irrigation before Development: Indigenous and Induced Change in Agricultural Water Management in East Africa. African Affairs, vol. 87
Appiah-Opoku, S. (2007). Indigenous beliefs and environmental stewardship: a rural Ghana experience. Journal of Cultural Geography, 22, 79-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08873630709478212
Awedora, A.K. (2002), Culture and Development in African with Special reference to Ghana. Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Lagon, Accra
Commons, J.R. (1970), The Economics of Collective Action, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Bonye Z. Samuel. (2008), Harnessing Synergies: The Role of Traditional Institutions in Natural Resource Management in the Tallensi/Nabdam District, Upper East Region. Master thesis.
Dorm-Adzobu, C., Ampadu-Agyei, O., & Veit, P. G. (1991). Religious Beliefs and Environmental Protection: The Malshegu Sacred Grove in Northern Ghana. WRI Washington, DC, USA and Acts Press, Africa Centre for Technology Studies, Kenya.
Dwomoh, D. (1990). Forest Conservation: The contribution of sacred groves (A study of Sekyere West District, Ashanti Region). B.A (Hons) Dissertation, Geography Dept., Univ. of Ghana, Legon.
Eneji, C. V. O., Gubo, Q., Jian, X., Oden, S. N., & Okpiliya, F. I. (2009b). A Review of the Dynamics of Forest Resources Valuation and Community Livelihood: Issues, Argu-ments and concerns. Journal of Agriculture, biotechnology and ecology, China, 2(2), 210-231.
Eneji C. V. O., Ntamu G. U. , Unwanade C. C., Godwin A. B, Bassey J. E., Willaims J. J & Joseph Ignatius. (2012) Traditional African Religion in Natural Resources Conservation and Management in Cross River State, Nigeria, Environment and Natural Resources Research; Vol. 2, No. 4; 2012 ISSN 1927-0488 E-ISSN 1927-0496 Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education
Fairhead, J. and Leach, M. (2004), False Forest History, Complicit Social Analysis: Rethinking. Some West African Environmental Narratives. Environment, Development and Rural Livelihoods. Earthscan, UK and USA.
Fargey, P. J. (1991). Assessment of the conservation status of the Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary. Report sub-mitted to the Flora and Fauna Preservation Society. p.73.
Goodin, R. E.( 1996a),Designing Institutions in East European transitions: The Theory of Institutional Design. Cambridge University Press.
Gyamfi-Fenteng, L. J, & Abbiw, D. (1992). Management Strategy for Sacred Groves in Ghana Report prepared for the World Bank and the Environmental Protection Coun-cil.
Hardin, G . (1968), Tragedy of the Commons Science, Volume162.
Haverkort, B. and Millar,D. (2004), Alternative Logic for Development Intervention CECIK, Bolga, Gha-na.
Kamla-Raj (2006). Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity Conservation and Man-agement in Ghana. Laarbeeklaan 103B-1090 Jette, Belgium
Marcessen, S. H. (ed)(1994),Past Practices, Present Problems, Future Possibilities; Indigenous Natural Resource management in Pastoral Areas of Tanzama, IDS, Denmark.
Marsh, R. (2002), Working with Local Institutions to Support Sustainable Livelihoods. University of Califona, Berkeley, USA.
Millar, D. (2004a), Shrines and Groves: Bio-cultural Diversity and Potential Environ-ment
Millar, D. (2004b), Traditional African World Views from a Cosmovision Perspec-tive.
Mkenda, B. (2010). Environmental Conservation anchored in African cultural herit-age, Ecology New People Magazine.
North, D.C. (1990), Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom, E . (1990), The rudi-ments of a theory of origins, survival and performance of common property institu-tions
Pillien, J. and Walpole S.(2001), Moving from open access to extraction to new par-ticipatory levels of accountable management. Malampaya Sound, Palawan, Philip-pines.
Runge, C.F. (1996), Institutions and the free rider: The assurance problem in col-lective action,Journal of Politics, Vol.46.
Shastri, C. M., Bhat, D. M., Nagaraja, B. C., Murali, K. S., & Ravindranath, N. H. (2002). Tree species diversity in a village ecosystem in Uttara Kannada district in Western Ghats, Karnataka. Current Science, 82, 1080-1084.
Tunon, H., & Bruhn, J. G. (1994). Drugs in ancient texts. Nature, 369, 702. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/369702a0
Tupper, M. (2002). Marine reserves and fisheries man-agement. Science, 295, 1233.
Udgaonkar, S. (2002). The recording of traditional knowledge: Will it prevent “bio-piracy?” Current Science, 82, 413-419.
UDS/CARE, (2004),The Chief, the Forester and Fireman; Proceeding on Bushfire Workshop, GILLBT, Tamale, Ghana
Utkarsh, G., Gadgil, M., & Rao, P. R. S. (1999). Intellec-tual property rights on biological resources: Benefiting from biodiversity and people's knowledge. Current Science, 77, 1418-1425.
World Conservation Union. (1994). Guidelines for Pro-tected Area Management Categories (IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge).