Title: Sustainable land management and tree tenure: The case of Parkia biglobosa in the Northern Region of Ghana

Final project
Year of publication:
Document URL: Link
Supervisors: Karl Benediktsson
Parkia biglobosa, tree tenure, sustainable land management, traditional areas, Ghana


The African locust bean tree (Parkia biglobosa) is a multipurpose species found in savannah agroforestry parklands, important for preventing land degradation as well as for providing food and other products. The study focuses on how traditional land and tree tenure arrangements affect tree populations in three traditional areas in the Northern Region of Ghana (Dagomba, Gonja and Mamprusi) and the implications of these arrangements for sustainable land management. A total of six focus group discussions were held in the three study communities and six key informants, two from each community, were interviewed. The discussions and the interviews were intended to solicit information on the system of tenure in the three traditional areas. A tree census was conducted to estimate the densities of Parkia biglobosa in crop fields and fallow fields. All interviewees and focus groups recognised the importance of P. biglobosa as an integral component of their livelihood. Medicinal, food, environmental and socio-economic benefits of the tree were identified. Tree densities differed considerably, being lowest in the Mamprusi. Respondents from focus groups and key informant interviews indicated that women, men and children have access to tree products. People need permission to have access to the products in the Dagomba traditional area. Women and men have rights of access but not control over the trees in all three areas. Tenant families do not have access to and control over trees on farmlands. Recent reductions in tree populations were attributed to bush burning, the use of modern implements in agriculture, high demand for fuel wood, negligence and, in the Mamprusi traditional area, the inactivity of traditional authority. The study shows that differences in tenure systems in the three traditional areas have implications for Parkia biglobosa populations and also for sustainable land management. Traditional tenure systems with some forms of regulation seem to protect the trees from destruction compared to the kind of open access system identified in the Kperiga in the Mamprusi traditional area.

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