Drivers of land use land cover change and intensity analysis of land transformation in the moist semi-deciduous forest zone of Ghana
Case of Bobiri Forest Reserve and its environs
Keywords:remote sensing, GIS, landsat, land use, land cover, land intensity analysis, forest degradation, agriculture expansion
Understanding land cover transformation over time and space is crucial for comprehending ecological challenges, particularly in environmentally vulnerable areas. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the demand for fuel, food, and fibre is expected to significantly expand croplands, resulting in the degradation of natural ecosystems. This research presents a spatiotemporal analysis of land-cover change in the Bobiri forest and its surrounding areas in Ghana's moist semi-deciduous forest zone. The study’s main objectives were to identify the drivers of land-cover change, and to analyse the intensity of land transformation from 1986 to 2022 in the study area. The methodology used measured land-cover changes at different levels, including intervals, categories, and transitions. The findings indicate that the annual rate of land change was higher from 1986 to 2007 (1.64%) compared to the period from 2007 to 2022 (1.04%). Additionally, the analysis at the category level reveals that the increase in cropland and non-vegetated areas during both time intervals was higher than the uniform intensity. The analysis at the transition level suggests that most of the cropland gains originated from non-vegetated areas during both periods. There is also evidence of localized increases in closed forests, likely due to afforestation policies implemented by the Ghanaian government. However, overall, there has been a decline in closed forests over the entire timeframe, with an annual rate of change of -1.25%. This study contributes valuable data for enhancing our understanding of the scale and direction of land-cover change, which is essential for developing policies aimed at mitigating the impact on local livelihoods and the environment at national and sub-national levels.
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