Title: Soil and land use evaluation for sustainable agriculture in the forest savanna transition zone of Ghana

Final project
Year of publication:
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Supervisors: Olafur Arnalds
land use, sustainable agriculture, soil organic carbon, soil fertility, smallholder farmer


The conversion from natural to agricultural lands by smallholder farmers affects soil nutrient status. A variety of traditional farming systems are being used in the Ejura-Sekyedumase District in response to rapid population growth. The main goal of this study was to investigate differences in soil nutrients of the different land use types within Ejura-Sekyeredumasi in order to enhance knowledge to improve rural income and food self-sufficiency. Soil samples were divided into three landuse types; forested land (non-cultivated), savannah regrowth (fallow) and cultivated land (arable). A variety of soil parameters were analysed from a total of 68 sites, divided into several depth intervals. The forest reserve recorded the highest averages for soil carbon, total nitrogen, soil pH, base saturation and carbon stocks, followed by savannah regrowth, but lowest in the cultivated land. Total carbon stocks within the three land use types were 10.05, 6.75, and 5.89 kg/m2 for the forest reserve, savannah regrowth and cultivated land respectively. The cultivated land was the most degraded in terms of soil nutrient depletion with a Degradation Index of 53.42%, followed by the savannah regrowth with 64.86%. Conversion from forest to agricultural land and the adoption of rudimentary methods by smallholder farmers has depleted soil nutrients in the study area by about half.

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