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Religious Beliefs and Environmental Protection

The Malshegu Sacred Grove in Northern Ghana

One of the few contemporary case studies of the role of religious beliefs in environmental protection, this report offers specific policy recommendations in favor of decentralized government and local protection of ecosystems.

Executive Summary

For nearly three centuries, a community in northern Ghana has preserved a small forest because it is believed to house a local spirit. Threatened over the years by such activities as road-building, mining, and electric-pole installation, this "sacred grove" has nevertheless been preserved -- testimony to the community's strong religious beliefs. In fact, this once-open forest has developed into a partially closed-canopy forest. One of the few contemporary case studies of the role of religious beliefs in environmental protection, this report offers specific policy recommendations in favor of decentralized government and local protection of ecosystems.

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