Land Use and Land Cover Changes in the Owabi Reservoir Catchment, Ghana: Implications for Livelihoods and Management

Reservoir catchments in Ghana have undergone significant changes in recent years with major implications for socio-economic development and local livelihoods. We studied land use and land cover changes and their impacts on livelihoods in the Owabi reservoir catchment from 1970 to 2014 using Landsat, ERDAS Imagine and Arc Geographic Information System (ArcGIS 10.2) software supplemented with participatory approaches including focus group discussions, key informant interviews and questionnaire surveys with 400 households. Our results showed that, since 1970, 24.6% of high-density forests and 15.8% of sparse forests have disappeared, while the built-up areahas increased from 9.8% to 56.6%. Additionally, the proportion of bare soil (areas that do not have vegetation cover due to forest clearing and other anthropogenic activities) has increased, while the areas of waterbodies have declined. We identified urbanisation and lack of community involvement in catchment management as the key factors driving the land cover changes that have adversely affected the livelihoods of the local fringe communities. This study highlights the threats from urbanisation to land cover changes and identifies the key drivers of land use change. For effective and sustainable management of natural resources, the local communities should be more actively involved in the decision-making process regarding the management of their individual catchments.
This article is Published by MDPI, 2019 and is also available at doi:10.3390/geosciences9070286
Geosciences 2019, 9, 286