Using Multi Criteria Evaluation in Forest resource conservation in Ghana: Spatially identifying vulnerable areas
The importance of forest resources to the socio-economic development of countries cannot be over-emphasized. A lot of research has been conducted in areas relating to forest management and protection in Sub-Saharan African. This paper discussed and illustrated the use of Spatial Multicriteria Decision Support System (SMDSS) to identify factors that make forest and game reserves vulnerable to rampant human induced depletion of forest resources by assessing risk factors of slope, roads and settlement data in Ghana. The model structure is aimed at understanding the critical vulnerable factors that threatens the survival of forest resources to deforestation, and draws on data from the Forestry Commission, CERSGIS and the Ghana Statistical Service. This paper incorporates multiple criteria and rank risk factors. In the end spatial maps are produced that identifies vulnerable areas for each ecological zone, so that specific policy interventions can be targeted by government to safeguard same. The research attempts to propose technology in managing scarce forest resources through the use of GIS techniques. It contributes to the discourse on forest management, ecological mapping and inventory of forest resources in Ghana. It provides an information base to tackle the threat of deforestation on a location by location basis. We conclude that spatial information is critical to forest resource management although spatial data is virtually unavailable in most developing countries. There is therefore the need by government to ensure acquisition and access to spatial data if forest resources are to be managed effectively.
Keywords—Forest, Conservation, Vulnerability, GIS and RS, SMDSS, Ghana