SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana (West Africa’s first non-profit organisation dedicated exclusively to the conservation of amphibians) has established community tree nurseries within the home of the Giant Squeaker Frog (Arthroleptis krokosua), the Sui River Forest Reserve (SRFR). This project is raising over 5,000 native seedlings to restore an estimated 5-ha of degraded critical habitats of the Giant Squeaker (https://savethefrogs.com/frogblog/save-the-frogs-news/save-the-frogs-ghana-executive-director-wins-rufford-foundation-awards-for-the-third-time/).
To date, only 13 individuals of this rare and endemic species has been recorded at SRFR, the highest ever, making the reserve perhaps the only sustainable home for the Squeaker Frog. Unfortunately, constant threats from illegal loggers and farmers are degrading and fragmenting this habitat. These activities have also facilitated the invasion of SRFR by the alien plant, the Devil weed (Chromolaena odorata). C. odorata depletes the density of leaf litter required by the frog for predator escape, desiccation and breeding thereby, reducing the species’ chances of recovering from the brink of extinction. Expedient conservation actions are therefore, urgently needed to prevent the extinction of the species. The community tree nursery project thus, is one of the many steps SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana is taking to address the problem.
From our past experience in habitat restoration, it is comparatively expensive to purchase and transport seedlings than to raise ones in proximity to planting sites. It is even more difficult to access additional seedlings to replace dead planted ones. Thus, the community tree nursery will ensure the constant supply of seedlings for our replanting exercises.
With help from experts from the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana, local people and nursery attendants were trained in:
• selecting the right weather conditions to raise seeds of native tree species in a nursery
• seed bed preparation
• selecting optimum conditions that are ideal for germination
• how to protect seeds and seedlings from adverse temperatures, heavy rains, drought, wind and a variety of pests and diseases
The community tree nursery project is a build-up to our previous habitat restoration project where we planted 2,000 native tree seedlings in another fragmented area of SRFR (https://savethefrogs.com/frogblog/save-the-frogs-news/restoration-of-the-giant-squeaker-frogs-habitat-gets-underway/).