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Impact assessment of land use changes using local knowledge for the provision of ecosystem services in northern Ghana, West Africa

Koo, Hongmi, Kleemann, Janina, Fürst, Christine
Ecological indicators 2019
agricultural industry, deforestation, ecosystem services, environmental indicators, land use change, models, stakeholders, surveys, urbanization, Ghana
An integrative perspective on assessing land use impacts requires the understanding of relationships between land use and the provision of ecosystem services. This study presents a stakeholder-based modeling approach to assess the potential impact of land use patterns and land use changes on ecosystem services in two districts of northern Ghana. First, the most legitimate group of stakeholders considering their influence and interest in the agricultural sector was selected. Second, ecosystem services and quantitative indicators that are relevant to land uses were determined based on literature and a stakeholder survey. Future land use patterns were simulated considering land use changes caused by urbanization and deforestation in the local context. Subsequently, simulated land use patterns were integrated with the potential values of ecosystem services provided by different land use types to analyze the capacity of ecosystem services provision at district level in a modeling approach. The results showed the current status of ecosystem services supplied by each district, and trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services as effects of the land use changes. The similarity and dissimilarity of land use change impacts between the districts were identified, which were attributed to the different perception by stakeholders and specific characteristics of land use patterns.