Improvement of the life bases in rural Ghana by Sustainable Buffer Zone Management
More than 13 million hectares of tropical forests are destroyed every year. In Ghana we analyse approaches for a sustainable utilization of remaining natural forests. We deliberately involve the local population on one hand for the protection of the forests, on the other hand to provide sources of income for the people.
Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 the international community of states is seeking for appropriate policy instruments for forest protection worldwide. This results in a need for advice of policy makers which we want to achieve on a scientific basis.
We elaborate and test adjusted land-use concepts for a buffer zone between agricultural land with prevailing shifting cultivation practice and forests. By the mean of the buffer zones the forests shall be protected from invading fires.
For our analyses we assessed the socio-economic context of the local population. Thus we learn about the interests of the farmers and we can consider their interest adequately in the buffer zone concept. We want to convince farmers to produce their staple crops in combination with high yielding fruit trees and to avoid slash and burn. A key role is played by seriously dedicated farmers who act as multipliers for the extension of the practice.
The new concept has been adopted by a great number of farmers which is still increasing. We were successful to establish an agroforestry system with genetically improved fruit trees in combination with staple crops which completely avoids fire and in this way protects trees in the buffer zone and neighboring forests. The fruit trees produce valuable products even in a young age which are sold and so contribute to household income. In other parts of the buffer zone we could organize wild collections of a fruit which is used for cosmetic production. After we succeeded in improving the process techniques the product became marketable. Also by this means new income sources could be generated.
Numerous publications, Diploma thesis, Master thesis.
1.2005 - 9.2013
Project status: finished