upper canopy tree cover in cocoa agroforestry system

Topics: Agriculture, Tree, Biodiversity Pages: 6 (1296 words) Published: October 16, 2014
 UPPER CANOPY CROWN COVER IN COCOA AGROFORESTRY SYSTEM 1.0 INTRODUCTION

Climate Change is one aspect or explanation of how the livelihood of farmers can be threatened. (Kuckelberg, 2012) In Ghana, the climate has changed over the last years of which crops are getting destroyed due to periods of extreme heat and heavy rains. As Mbow and colleagues outline in their paper, climate change mitigation in Africa to date has largely focused on reforestation and forest protection. This has often conflicted with the need to expand agricultural production to feed the continent’s growing population. But this need not be the case, says Mbow, as agroforestry may be able to deliver both on increasing tree cover to store carbon while also enhancing agricultural productivity. Cocoa cultivation maintains a higher proportions of upper canopy crown cover (cocoa agroforestry) which is increasingly being viewed as a sustainable land use practice that is environmentally preferable to other forms of agricultural activities in tropical forest regions because it contributes to biodiversity conservation and income diversification. Properly managed cocoa agroforestry systems play a crucial role in helping farmers adapt and build resilience to uncertain climates. (Langford, 2014). Upper canopy trees can provide a buffer against climatic extremes that impact crop growth. They can enhance understory growth and improve water use efficiency. These trees have also been shown to increase rainfall utilization compared to annual cropping systems. And are known to have a direct impact on local and regional rainfall patterns, so they also have considerable potential to alleviate drought in parts of Africa. (Mbow et.al, 2014). The use of production landscapes in Ghana for cocoa production has intensified dramatically over the last three decades. (UNDP, 2014). This research will examine the evolution of the cocoa sector in Ghana primarily to understand the factors that have contributed to the success of the use of upper canopy crown cover and to look for lessons for fostering agricultural transformation.

1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT
The relatively dense forest that characterized the initial cultivation of cocoa in Ghana maintained the natural ecosystem suitable for cocoa growth. It also conserved to some extent many ecosystem functions and the remnant biodiversity of the original forest. However, those services are constrained by rapid deforestation, at the rate of 2% per year, with expansion of the area planted and a shift from more to less upper canopy crown cover in cocoa farming schemes. Progressive conversion of forests in Ghana into cocoa fields, particularly in the Western Region, contributes to ongoing deforestation. (UNDP, 2014).

1.2 JUSTIFICATION
With the existence of structural arrangement in cocoa agroforestry system, this research will offer farmers the opportunity to exploit all the necessary components in the system and their interactions, to maximize income and reduce risks, as well as promote wide spread distribution of species that are already present somewhere in the landscape or from the outside of the landscape.

1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
1.3.1 Aim
This study aims to investigate the upper canopy crown cover and tree species composition in cocoa agroforestry system.

1.3.2 Specific objectives
To determine the upper canopy crown cover in cocoa agroforestry system. To determine tree species composition in cocoa farms.

1. 4 METHODOLOGY
1. 4 .1Study site
This study will be conducted in Bia district in the Western region of Ghana. Bia district forms part of twenty two (22) Metropolitan, Municipal and District in the Western Region of Ghana  is located between Latitude 6° 6N and 7...

References: Kuckelberg. M. U., (2012), Climate Change and Impact on the Livelihood of Farmers and Agricultural Workers in Ghana; Ghana Agricultural Workers Union.
Langford, K. (2014), Can Agroforestry provide a win-win for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in Africa, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Kenya, 6.
Mbow, C. Smith, P. Skole, D. Duguma, L. Bustamante, M. (2014). Achieving mitigation and adaptation to climate change under sustainable agroforestry practices in Africa, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 6: 8- 14.
Nkyi, A. K. (2010), Introduction to Tropical Guide to Forest Measurement (1st edn), Ghana, K.B.P.P.
United Nations Developmental Programme (2014), Environmental Sustainability and Policy for Cocoa Production in Ghana, COCOBOD.
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