Examining Agricultural Land-use/Cover Change Options in Rural Northern Ghana: A Participatory Scenario Exploration Exercise Approach

By Biola K. Badmos, Grace B. Villamor, Sampson K. Agodzo, Samuel N. Odai and Samuel S. Guug.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

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Published online: December 17, 2014 Free Download

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), studies on land-use/cover (LUC) change have focused more on transformation from forest or woodland to other types of LUC. Few studies have addressed the dynamics in agricultural landscapes which could accompany impacts on the environment. This paper identified potential drivers of agricultural land-use/cover (ALUC) via household surveys and interviews of stakeholders, as well as information gathered from literature. Identified drivers were used to develop descriptive scenarios (what-if questions), and were presented to farmers during participatory scenario exploration exercises. The scenarios were used to view the farmers' ALUC options under changing climatic and socio-economic conditions. The parameters used include climate change resulting from rainfall, socioeconomic variables like availability of finance, and access to fertilizer and the price of seeds. Findings from this study showed that climate change (rainfall)-related scenarios influence the replacement of crop(s) from agricultural land (agricultural-land-conversion), while socio-economic scenarios influence the incorporation of crop(s) to an existing agricultural land (agricultural-land-modification). Farmers may change their ALUC under certain conditions/stressors, and this might have accompanied environmental impact. In this part of the world, in-depth and well documented impacts of ALUC on the environment are scant. Therefore, to effectively direct policy in this direction, it will be necessary to investigate more on the associated environmental trade-offs associated with diverse agricultural land-use/covers. In addition, minimizing the associated trade-offs should be our priority.

Keywords: Northern Ghana, Agricultural Land-use/Cover Change and Drivers, Environmental Impact, Participatory Scenario Exploration Exercise

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, December 2014, pp.15-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 17, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 770.747KB)).

Dr. Biola K. Badmos

Ph.D Candidate, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Civil Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Dr. Grace B. Villamor

Senior Researcher, West Africa Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Prof. Sampson K. Agodzo

Professor of Agricultural Engineering, Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Prof. Samuel N. Odai

Professor in Civil Engineering, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Civil Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Mr. Samuel S. Guug

Field Technician, West Africa Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Bolgatanga, Ghana