Journal of Mountain Science

Dynamics of land use change in a mining area: a case study of Nadowli District, Ghana

Abstract In a developing country like Ghana, the study of land use and land cover change (LULCC) based on satellite imageries still remains a challenge due to cost, resolution and availability with less skilled man power. Existing researches are skewed towards the southerly part of Ghana thereby leaving the Northern sectors uncovered. The maximum likelihood classification (MLC) algorithm was employed for the LULCC between 2000 and 2014 in Nadowli: an area characterized by an upsurge in mining in the Northern belt of Ghana. A spatial-social approach was utilized combining both satellite imagery and socio economic data. Land use transition matrix, land use integrated index/degree indices was used to depict the characters of the change. A semi structured interview, pair wise ranking and key informant interviews were used to correlate the socio economic impact of the different LULC. Overall changes in the landscape showed an increase in bare ground by 19.22%, open savannah by 16.8% whereas closed savanna decreased by 50%. Land use change matrix showed increasing trends of bare ground at the expense of vegetation. The integrated land use index highlighted the bare ground and built up areas rising with a decreasing closed vegetation woodlot. Large farm size are shrinking whiles majority of the people view mining as the main socio economic activity affecting the environment and the reduction in vegetation. This study therefore provides a strategic guide and a baseline data for land use policy actors in the Northern belt of Ghana. This will aid in developing models for future land use change implications in surrounding areas where mining is on the rise

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