Land Use and Landscape Structural Changes in the Ecoregions of Ghana
Effah Kwabena Antwi*1, John Boakye-Danquah*2,
Stephen Boahen Asabere*3, Gerald A. B. Yiran*4, Seyram Kofi Loh*4,
Kwabena Gyekye Awere*4, Felix K. Abagale*5,
Kwabena Owusu Asubonteng*6, Emmanuel Morgan Attua*7,
and Alex Barimah Owusu*7
*1Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), the University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan
*2Department of Geography and Resource, University of Ghana, Ghana
*3Department of Geosceinces, Technische Universitaet Dresden, Germany
*4Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, Ghana
*5Faculty of Agriculture, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
*6United Nations University – Institute for Natural Resources in Africa
*7Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana
In recent years, land use (LU) and landscape structure in ecoregions around the world have been faced with enormous pressures, from rapid population growth to urban sprawl. A preliminary account of changes in land cover (LC) and landscape structure in the ecoregions of Ghana is missing from the academic and research literature. The study therefore provides a preliminary assessment of the changing LU and landscape structure in the ecoregions of Ghana, identifying the causes and assessing their impact on land-based resources, and on urban and agricultural development. LU/LC maps produced from 30 m resolution Landsat TM5 in 1990 and ETM+ in 2000 were classified into dominant land cover types (LCTs) and used to survey the changing landscape of Ghana. LC-changemap preparation was done with change detection extension “Veränderung” (v3) in an ArcGIS 10.1 environment. At the class level, Patch Analyst version 5.1 was used to calculate land use (LU) statistics and to provide landscape metrics for LU maps extracted from the satellite imagery. The results showed that commonly observed LCCs in the ecoregions of Ghana include conversion of natural forest land to various forms of cultivated lands, settlements, and open land, particularly in closed and open forest and savannah woodland. The dominant LU types in the ecoregions of Ghana are arable lands, which increased by 6168.98 km2. Forest and plantation LCTs decreased in area and were replaced by agricultural land, forest garden, and open land. Afforestation rarely occurred except in the rainforests. The mean patch size (MPS), ameasure of fragmentation, was generally reduced consistently from 1990 to 2000 in all the ecoregions. Similar results that indicated increased fragmentation were an increased number of patches (NumP) and the Shannon diversity index (SDI). Habitat shape complexity inferred from mean shape index (MSI) decreased in all ecoregions except for rainforest and wet evergreen. The SDI and Shannon evenness index (SEI) showed that habitat diversity was highest in the coastal savannah and the deciduous forest ecoregions. The main drivers of changes in the LUs and landscape structure are demand for land and land-based natural resources to support competing livelihoods and developmental activities in the different ecoregions.
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