Deforestation and its effect on livelihood patterns of forest fringe communities in the Asunafo North Municipality

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In spite of their immeasurable benefits to life sustenance, the sustainable management of forest and forest resources in Ghana is fraught with innumerable challenges such as the conflicting roles of the various stakeholders involved in forest management. Forests have since ancient times played an important role in the lives of people and the environment in general. That is, forests provided and continue to provide numerous benefits to humanity. This has repercussions for the environmental and livelihood patterns on the people especially the poor and the people who depend on the forest. It is in this vein that this study was undertaken to assess the effects of deforestation on the livelihood patterns of the forest fringe communities (farmers) in the Asunafo North District. The study adopted the case study research design in undertaking this systematic enquiry. This was adopted to help acquire knowledge on the current situation with regards to the phenomenon under consideration. Both primary and secondary data were collected and used for the study. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative data gathering techniques to collect the necessary data and was analyzed in great depth to determine their implications for changing forest cover and livelihood patterns in the study area. The respondents for the study comprised Farmers, Municipal Meteorological Department, Forestry Commission and Municipal Agricultural Development Units. The study showed that, the farmers in the study area are largely engaged in the cultivation of food crops which are mainly subsistence in nature. It was realized that the farmers practice mixed cropping with slash and burn as the predominant land preparation method. The study showed that deforestation has affected crop production in the areas of delayed commencement of planting seasons, pest and diseases infestation, level and quality of crop yields and reduction in the income levels of farmers. The study recommended among other things, the continuous education and sensitization of farmers, strengthening of the public institution stakeholders and promotion of active research that will ensure a decline in deforestation.
A thesis submitted to the school of graduate studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of MASTER OF SCIENCE IN DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PLANNING. 2014