Forest and Soil Degradation in Ghana: Implication for Developing Sustainable Landscape Management Strategy

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    Tesfahunegn Gebreyesus

    Land degradation is a serious global problem that is grossly impacting developing countries. Globally, agriculture is estimated to be the main driver for about 80% of the land degradation. Reports have shown that 7 and 1.5 million ha of agricultural land are degraded annually, with more than 40% of the severely degraded land in Africa. The issue of degradation is more severe in Africa than any other continent as the majority of the people’s livelihood is highly dependent on natural resources such as forest and agricultural products. Recently, mining, infrastructure and urban expansion, fuelwood collection, charcoal production, subsistence agriculture, illegal logging, hunting, uncontrolled fire and livestock overgrazing of forested landscapes are noted as important drivers of forest landscape degradation in several developing countries, and particularly in Africa.

    Ghana had 35% of its land under threat of desertification especially Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions since the 1960s and 1970s and recently in the eastern region of the country. Land degradation in Northern Ghana has rendered large tracts of croplands which were once fertile currently unproductive as such contributing to depleting income and food sources. As a result of land degradation, grasslands, woodlands and forests are being lost while natural water bodies are drying up due to prolonged droughts and sedimentation of water courses. However, the nature and extent of farmers’ knowledge and perception on land degradation has not been sufficiently understood in the Ghana conditions as both the causes and effects of degradation are time and site-dependent. The main objective of this project is to examine farmers’ perception on forest and soil degradation in the Eastern and Northern Regions of Ghana and its implication for sustainable landscape management. Two sources of data, that is, primarily and secondary will be collected. The primarily data will be collected using field observation and semi-structure questionnaire interviews of farmers on their perception on forest degradation, erosion and soil fertility problems and coping strategies. Descriptive, non-parametric (e.g., chi-square) and econometric analyses will be used.