This section presents the existing situation or status of development of the District after the implementation of the GPRS I. The various areas of developmental concern have been analysed to find out the development gaps that need to be closed under the 2006 – 2009 development plan.
The environmental situation of the district consists of the natural environment, conditions of the built environment as well as sites of historic and aesthetic importance.
Conditions of the Natural Environment
The district has an extensive forest reserve of about 150.50km2 known as the Bosomoa Forest Reserve. The tree species found in the reserves include, Teak, Odum, Wawa, Senya, Manana and Mahogany, which have given rise to timber extraction. These reserves can be found in the areas around: Krutakyi, Jema, Ampoma, Anyima, Nante and Krabonso. The activities of timber contractors, illegal chain saw operators and the use of traditional farming methods, such as slash and burn, have contributed negatively to the changing face of the natural environment. The consequences are as follows:
Depletion of the economic trees and the forest reserves as a result of the neglect of afforestation and re-afforestation programmes and the destruction of young trees, all leading to microclimate change and ecological imbalance as well as changing of the forest vegetation to that of grassland and savanna.
Destruction of crops through indiscriminate felling and transportation of the extracted timber from the bush.
The high incidence of bush fires in the district, especially in the dry season, which are mainly caused by group hunting, indiscriminate burning of farm lands without creating fire belts by farmers, failure to seek fire volunteer assistance during burning and careless handling of faggots by palm wine tappers have left most of the farming land bare and exposed to erosion, which is rapidly destroying the natural vegetation and altering the ecology of the district.
However, according to the National Fire Service, the bush fires in the year 2005/2006 were brought to the barest minimum with only few incidences. This low prevalence of bush fires in 2005/2006 is attributed to the Anti-Bush fire campaigns carried out by the National Fire Service in collaboration with the District Assembly. If this practice is sustained, the forest would be regenerated in a few years. The forest is not only important for growing food crops, but also an important source of fuel wood and charcoal.
Fuel wood and charcoal are the main sources of energy for cooking in the households, constituting 65% and 25% respectively of domestic energy consumption. A survey conducted revealed that about 61% of the energy used in the district is supplied or exploited from the forest. This situation contributes to the depletion of the tree species, and thus calls for reaforestation projects, as currently taking place intensively in the district by the Department of Forestry.
The well-drained soil can support cash crops such as cashew, mangoes and others. Food crops like maize, cassava, and vegetables also do well in the district.
Infrastructure Distribution and Service Levels
The quality and quantity of economic infrastructure within an economy is vital for development. The current economic infrastructure situation in the District.
Human Settlement Patterns
Human settlement pattern is informed by factors, which are related to economic, social, historical, and other factors. The district space economy becomes clearer with the analysis of its settlement pattern and spatial linkages. This study leads us to understand the functions performed by settlements and their hierarchy, which the centrality indices are used to assess.
An examination of the settlement pattern was carried out to find the distribution of economic and social facilities in the district (see table ). The relatively larger settlements, with a population of above 1000, which are on table …., have also been put on the scalogram. A scalogram is a matrix of the functional arrangement of settlements.
In the scalogram, 30 number of services were considered in all the 29 settlements. The hierarchy of settlements was derived from the centrality indices. Five levels of functional hierarchy were derived. Only Jema , with a population of 7,868, emerged as the first (1st) order settlement in the district having 26 of the services. Anyima emerged the second order (2nd) settlement with 16 services.
Three settlements emerged as the third (3rd) order settlements, with the rest of the settlements as fourth (4th) and fifth (5th) orders with centrality index less than 20. The important point to consider in the analysis is to ensure balance or equity in space. To this, therefore, all settlements which have attained a minimum population threshold to get an appropriate facility, should be provided.
For example towns with population 5000 and above, which qualify for Urban Development projects, should be provided with projects and services to enable them to play key functions for the people. The development strategy must therefore be focussed on the creation of hierarchically structured spatial system in which linkages between its components are strengthened.
To achieve a balanced development, emphasis should be on the growth of second order and third order settlements as rural centres in order to provide services like storage facilities, market as well as labour intensive industries for the processing of local materials.