There is an area of approximately 4,000 hectares of Guinea Savanna woodland, located on Weppa Farm. Examples of such woodland, are increasingly rare and a decision was made to actively conserve this area.
The land was never cleared by the original owners of the farm, and has over the years been subject to illegal logging and small scale clearing for minor farming activities.
In 2011, following visits by experts in the field of conservation, it was decided to actively guard the area, by establishing a ranger system, to stop all illegal activities and to allow the woodland to fully regenerate. It is believed that within 10 years the area will have regained all of its natural characteristics and will be a leading example of Guinea Savanna woodland.
The benefits of this are potentially numerous. Some can already be assessed and quantified, however the impact of others will, we believe, be demonstrated over time.
Forest and woodland are the "lungs" of the planet and they lock up vast amounts of carbon whilst producing oxygen. The existence of the conserved area could help the State to meet any carbon emission targets that might be set in the future.
The conservation of the woodland promotes and helps maintain bio-diversity. The richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development and adaptive responses to challenges such as climate change. If this area is cleared for agriculture now, the potential for the future will be lost.
The fully regenerated woodland might yield certain high value items, which will have an economic value that can be realised on a sustainable basis. This could well be in the area of medicinal resources or pharmaceutical drugs.
The importance of the woodland to the overall ecosystem of the surrounding area is considerable. It is known that the area plays an important part in flood prevention and maintenance of the local ecosystem. If the woodland is destroyed it would clearly be too late to do anything to reverse the potentially disastrous consequences. It is a fact that the natural woodland helps maintain a stable underground water table, thus contributing to the success of tree crops in the surrounding areas.
The area will be an important centre for research in the future, once the woodland has fully regenerated. The discoveries that might be made are currently unknown, but it is the responsibility of the current generation to protect the potential for future generations.