Geo-spatial analysis of land use and land cover changes in the Lake Bosomtwe Basin of Ghana
This paper examines forest degradation and biodiversity loss in the Lake Bosomtwe Basin of Ghana between 1986 and 2008 from a geospatial perspective. The study was conducted using an integrated approach with Remote Sensing and GIS techniques, and supported with socioeconomic data for forest cover change detection and biodiversity loss. A supervised per-pixel classification approach using a maximum likelihood algorithm was employed to generate land cover maps from Landsat Thematic Mappers of 1986 and 2002, as well as ETM+ of 2008 imagery. Statistical analyses of the land cover classifications indicate that forest cover around the basin has experienced remarkable loss in the past 22 years. Specifically, between 1986 and 2008, the basin lost 18.0% of the total forest cover as a result of anthropogenic activities. Land cover changes were mainly caused by extensive farming and building, with increases of 16224.5ha and 7139.3ha respectively. The paper concludes that the current state of forest cover and biodiversity loss in the basin results from human activities underpinned by complex interaction of socio-economic, institutional and technological processes at multiple scales. This provides a snapshot of the real situation of forest degradation and biodiversity loss in Ghana. Conservation efforts need to be in harmony with short- and long-term interests of the local communities and investors in the tourism and hospitality industry in order to reduce the environmental problems in the Lake Basin.
Keywords: Deforestation; forest degradation; land use; land cover; environmental sustainability; Lake Bosomtwe basin