The prospect of biodiversity conservation in cocoa agroforestry landscape, Ghana

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Ecological Laboratory


Abstract The adoption of cocoa agroforests in Ghana and other West African countries for biodiversity conservation has not been conclusive. Though constituting major landscapes, cocoa agroforests are not fully adopted for biodiversity conservation, despite the declining cover of protected forest areas that are considered as biodiversity hotspots. We assessed the biodiversity conservation potential of cocoa agroforest farms relative to a protected forest vegetation. Six plots were delineated in cocoa agroforest farms, and a plot in a protected forest. Trees with a diameter of, at least, 5 cm at breast height (1.3m) were identified and counted in the plots. Multiple quantitative general diversity measurements of species richness, Shannon index, Simpson index and Sorensen’s plot similarity were estimated and compared among the plots. Though the protected forest recorded the highest (2.74) for the Shannon index, some cocoa farms recorded higher measurements as well (2.46 and 2.31). Three cocoa plots recorded higher values for Simpson index (0.92, 0.89 and 0.83) than the protected area (0.73). Dominance was higher in the protected forest (0.127) than one cocoa plot (0.098). The Sorensens’s index showed a wide variation in similarity among the cocoa farms, indicating the possibility of management types. The finding indicates a potential for adopting cocoa agroforestry for biodiversity conservation, yet, given the variations in diversity measures among the farms, further studies to determine the management types and the mix of tree species diversity and abundance that yields the optimum sustainability benefits must be conducted.


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Protected forest, Shannon index, Simpson index, Sorenson’s coefficient, Species count, Species richness