Edward Koomson

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Provision and Management of Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes for Climate Change Adaptation in Semi Arid Northern Ghana

The reality of climate change happening has been recognized globally. Assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that the climate is changing at unprecedented fashion with the likelihood of serious impacts on society if no serious actions are taking to address underlying causes. Until recently the development community had focus more on climate change mitigation than on climate change adaptation (CCA), although adaptation represents the best coping option. Home to hundreds of millions of people, the semi-arid regions of Africa are particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks due to weak adaptive capacity and low resilience to the impacts of climate change. Most part of dry land West Africa including the northern parts of Ghana falls into the semi-arid ecological zone. The semi-arid regions of Ghana are characterized by low and erratic rainfall that affects agriculture, ecosystems and the services that flow from them. However, most people in these regions depend on ecosystem services and particularly rain fed agriculture as their main source of livelihood. Within the ecological constraints of these regions, climate variations are also projected to have significant impacts. Although many people in these regions already display remarkable resilience, existing pressures are expected to amplify in the coming decades. Given the projected increase in the impact of climate change on these regions there is the need therefore for long term adaptive strategies that integrate the use of ecosystems services into an overall strategy for helping people adapt to climate change. The study sought to examine the contribution of ecosystem services in semi-arid landscapes to the wellbeing of rural communities in Ghana and the factors that enables or constrains their provision, use and management, with the view to guide the planning and implementation of an ecosystem based climate change adaptation. A mixed method approach involving Focused Group Discussions, Key Informant Interviews, Household Survey and Time Series Analysis of historical climate data was employed. The results show that, over the 30 year period (1984-2014), annual rainfall ranged between 764.1 and 1419.6 mm a-1 and averaged 1035.4 mm a-1 with no significant trend. However, there has been a significant increase in rainfall intensity and a significant shift in the onset of the season over the period. The key ecosystem services that underpin livelihoods were water for agriculture and domestic use, food and income from agriculture, firewood for energy and income, trees and mud for housing, grass for feeding livestock and leaf litter and animal droppings for soil fertility. The availability and access to these ecosystem services have declined over the years due primary to tree cutting, bush fires, inadequate rainfall and short rainfall season. It is recommended that the government of Ghana’s Policy to construct irrigation dams in the semi arid northern savanna belt be hastened as well as the supply of subsidized high yielding and early maturing and drought tolerant varieties of crops and seeds to respond to the shortening raining season.


Provision and Management of Ecosystem Services for Climate Change Adaptation in Semi Arid Northern Ghana


  • Adu-Manu K. S., Larbi, L., Koomson, E., Wagner vom Berg, B., Marx Gomez, J. (2017). e-Ecosystems: Using Technology to enhance Community Stewardship. Conference Proceedings- Dialogue on Sustainability and Environmental Management. Pp, February 15-16 2017, University of Ghana.

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University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA)
P. O. Box LG 149
Legon, Accra