Title: Impacts of different land use on soil carbon stocks in the Northern savannah agro-ecological zone of Ghana

Author(s): Mandela Alema
Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Gunnhildur E. G. Gunnarsdóttir
climate change, land use, soil carbon stocks, carbon sequestration


Soils play a vital role in the fight against climate change by acting as a source or a sink for atmospheric CO2. Understanding the interactions between different land use systems and soil carbon dynamics is therefore important for climate change mitigation strategies. This project was carried out to assess soil carbon stocks and stock changes from 2014 to 2019 under three different land use types, namely arable land, natural regeneration, and woodlots in the Northern savannah agro-ecological zone of Ghana. 15 sampling plots were permanently established within 10 communities. Soil samples to determine organic carbon content and bulk density were taken at 10 cm intervals down to 40 cm soil depth. The samples were taken within 0.5 x 0.5 m quadrats which were laid diagonally in the sampling plots. Soil bulk density ranged between 1.50 to 1.70 g cm-3 and was not significantly different with depth across all land use types, neither was soil organic carbon. Percentage increases in mean soil carbon stocks of 5.14%, 11.21% and 15.34% were recorded in arable land, natural regeneration, and woodlot respectively from 2014 to 2019. However, changes in soil carbon stocks between 2014 and 2019 were not significantly different across land use types. There was also considerable variation in soil carbon stock changes among sample plots under each land use type as well as among different depth intervals. The range of carbon stocks measured in this study was on par with other published studies, but for stronger results the study design should be improved.

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