The Atewa Range (also known as the Atiwa-Atwaredu ranges) is located in the Akyem Abuakwa region of southern Ghana, near the town of Kibi and south-west of the Kwahu Plateau, which forms Lake Volta’s south-west edge. The range is made up of steep-sided hills with relatively flat peaks and runs roughly north-south. It comprises old bauxitic soils and is the last remnant of the Cenozoic peneplain that originally encompassed southern Ghana. The range is home to a significant forest reserve as well as three major rivers.
A substantial portion of the range has been designated as a forest reserve, with around 17,400 hectares of rare highland evergreen forest. The reserve is managed by the Ghana Forestry Commission in partnership with various parties, including the Okyeman Environment Foundation, which has banned farming in the area in favor of encouraging eco-tourism. The reserve, however, is threatened by logging and bushmeat hunting. Because the reserve contains gold reserves as well as low-grade bauxite, it is also subject to mining exploration.
Following a nationwide botanic survey of forest reserves by the Ghana Forestry Department in the 1990s, many of the plant species occur only in this section of Ghana, or in a few other locations, and a portion was designated as a particularly protected GSBA (Globally Significant Biodiversity Area). Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Least Honeyguide, Spotted Honeyguide, Common Bristlebill, and Blue-headed Crested-Flycatcher are among the unique birds found in the forest reserve. Scientists discovered two unusual and possibly endangered primate species, Geoffroy’s pied colobus (Colobus vellerosus) and the olive colobus (Procolobus verus), as well as 17 unique butterfly species and the severely endangered frog species Conraua derooi, during a 2006 survey of the reserve.
The Papilio antimachus, which possesses the world’s largest wingspan, and the Mylothris atewa, which may be globally severely endangered, are two butterfly species. As of 2016, there is a campaign underway to make Atewa a national park.
Three notable rivers originate in the Atewa range: the Ayensu and Densu Rivers, which flow south into the Atlantic, and the Birim, which takes a long detour north and southwest before reaching the Pra River. The Birim, which runs through all three of Ghana’s ancient Akyem regions, is a valuable but diminishing diamond source.