Cocoa agroforestry for increasing forest connectivity in a fragmented landscape in Ghana

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Date

2014-12

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Volume Title

Publisher

Agroforestry Systems

Abstract

In Ghana, farmers perceive protected forests as land banks for increasing agricultural productivity to support subsistence living. This has led to fragmentation of existing protected forests. Two of such reserve forests namely Bia Conservation Area and Krokosua Hills Forest Reserve have been encroached through lumbering for timber and area expansion of no-shade cocoa production systems. The purpose of this study was to develop a multi-disciplinary strategy to increase forest connectivity using cocoa agroforest corridors. Biophysical assessments involving satellite images for vegetation patterns, and expert data from a decision support system were used to select suitable sites for the corridor within a Geographic Information System framework. Socio-economic assessments of the opportunity costs of alternative farming systems to cocoa agroforestry in the delineated corridors show that while timber trees planted within cocoa agroforests settings would help offset the yield losses in cocoa shade-yield relationships compared to full sun-production systems, the on-farm benefits of cocoa agroforestry alone are insufficient to justify the adoption. Paying farmers premium prices for cocoa and substantial off-farm environmental and ecosystem services under agroforestry systems can tip the balance towards adoption. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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Keywords

Biodiversity, Cost-benefit analysis, Forest corridors, Geographic information system, Protected forests

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