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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/13499

Title: How farmers develop local ecological knowledge for on-farm tree management: The perspectives of some farming communities of Ghana
Authors: Awuah, Raheal
Kyereh, Boateng
Keywords: Agroecology
farming cycle
forest restoration
tree management
functional role
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Wiley
Abstract: In the tropics, tree populations located outside forests constitute a significant component of the natural resource base. They serve very important commodity roles as fuelwood, timber, medicine and food, whilst in the environmental front they are indispensable in nutrient cycling, micro-climate moderation and carbon storage (de Foresta et al., 2013). Yet, tree populations outside forests are not being sustainably managed resulting in a low tree-densitylandscape in many parts of the tropics. To reverse this trend and enhance tropical landscape's productivity there is the need to develop sustainable tree management systems for trees outside forests but the limited scientific information on the subject is a major hindrance to this policy. Usually, a lot of tree management information resides with farmers and other local people who have traditionally been managing trees on farmlands (Amanor, 1996). It is also acknowledged in scientific circles that the strong dependency of rural people in the tropics on natural resources has enabled them to acquire a tremendous wealth of ecological knowledge for managing resources on a sustainable basis in their environment (Trosper & Parrotta, 2012). Therefore, tree management in cropping systems is one important area in natural resource management in the tropics where people are expected to have good levels of knowledge because of the importance of trees in the sustainability of tropical farming systems. There have been persistent calls for increased use of local ecological knowledge (LEK) in natural resource conservation and development (Paloniemi et al., 2018; Tengö, Brondizio, Elmqvist,Malmer, & Spierenburg, 2014). Nonetheless, this can materialise only with proper documentation and communication of LEK which invariably should start with an exploration of farmers understanding what it means to manage trees in different agroecological set-ups. The study is also relevant to forest restoration which involves trees on farms, and this requires knowledge on how to work with local farmers. This study therefore sought to determine farmers' perceptions of what constitutes on-farm tree management and how these perceptions influence knowledge generation on trees in farming systems by farmers. On-farm trees are forest trees integrated into agricultural cropping systems that may either be natural regeneration from seedlings, stumps and root coppices or deliberately planted. On-farm trees are part of tree resources outside forests and contribute significantly to subsistence and commercial wood production (Pouliot & Treue, 2013). Worldwide, trees and agricultural activities co-exist in both larger landscapes and smaller landholdings either permanently or temporarily under some kind of agroforestry practice. They provide goods and services such as food, fuel, fodder, building materials, saleable commodities and protection of soils and crops (Arnold & Dewees, 2014). At the global level it is estimated that about 46% of all agricultural lands have more than 10% tree cover (Zomer, Trabucco, Coe, & Place, 2009). Species retained on farms are often multifunctional and are therefore managed to fulfill multiple objectives but invariably their ecological roles stand out as paramount (Idol, Haggar, & Cox, 2011). On-farm trees exist under a wide range of socio-economic conditions, for example in Ghana, such trees may be fully owned by farmers if they do not have much timber value on the other hand, where they happen to be commercial timber trees, their ownership is vested in landowners whilst the right to harvest is vested in the state and administered by the Forestry Commission. Farmers, nonetheless, are the de facto managers of all on-farm trees irrespective of their economic value (Dumenu, Pelz, & Kyereh, 2014).
Description: This article is published in Wiley and also available at DOI: 10.1111/1477-8947.12210
URI: 10.1111/1477-8947.12210
Appears in Collections:College of Agric and Natural Resources

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