Propagation studies of voacanga africana stem cuttings for the protection of water bodies in the transitional zone of Ghana.

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In Ghana, riverine forests (riparian buffers) have been seriously degraded resulting in the drying up of several rivers, which supply water to certain communities, especially in the rural areas. The restoration of these degraded lands is mostly done using exotic tree species which have the tendency to colonise and dominate indigenous tree species and eventually lead to loss of biodiversity. This research therefore examines the propagation of Voacanga africana tree species which could be used to protect water bodies, restore biodiversity loss and also provide economic benefits to the local people by harvesting its fruits for sale. Two experiments were conducted at the Faculty of Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources lath house in K.N.U.S.T on 6th July, 2006 and completed on 9th December, 2006. The first experiment consisted of three wood types of Voacanga africana (hardwood, semi-hardwood and softwood), raised in three soil types (topsoil, sand and mixture of topsoil and sand) and treated with three growth hormone (IBA, IBA+NAA and Control) which gave a 3x3x3 factorial in a Completely Randomised Design. The main plot factor was the growing media (soil types), the sub-plot factor was the growth hormone whiles the sub-sub plot factor was the wood types. These gave twenty -seven treatment combinations with ten cuttings each which were replicated three times. Cuttings were evaluated for shoot sprouts, rooting, number of roots, root length and disease infection. The results showed that, hardwood and semi-hardwood cuttings of Voacanga africana performed better in terms of sprouting and rooting. Dip'N'grow (an IBA/NAA premix) was the best among the growth hormone, Seradix '3' powder (NAA) was also consistent. Among the growing media, materials raised in a mixture of topsoil and sand performed better than any of the soil types alone. The general performance of Voacanga africana cuttings which had no cover and those that were covered with polythene were not remarkably different. The conclusion drawn from the research findings were that, a micro-climate should be created to aid in the successful sprouting of Voacanga africana stem cuttings; semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings without hormone treatment (control) or treated with dip 'n'grow in a mixture of topsoil and sand should be considered for future propagation of Voacanga africana stem cuttings. GIS and Remote Sensing technology was also identified as a very effective tool in gathering reliable and accurate information about natural resources degradation.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Agroforestry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.