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close this bookEnvironment, Biodiversity and Agricultural Change in West Africa (UNU, 1997, 141 pages)
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentOpening address
close this folderThe context
close this folder1: General background
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View the documentEcological setting
View the documentFarming systems
View the documentProblem
View the documentReferences
close this folder2: People, land management and environmental change: Conceptual background, with focus on Africa
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View the documentBackground and context
View the documentPopulation, agriculture and environment in sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentObjectives of PLEC
View the documentPLEC in Africa
View the documentInternational collaboration for sustainable development
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close this folder3: Indigenous African farming systems: Their significance for sustainable environmental use (Keynote address)
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View the documentConcept of sustainability
View the documentIndigenous sustainable farming systems
View the documentConclusion
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close this folder4: Criteria for designing sustainable farming systems in tropical Africa
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View the documentSustainable agriculture
View the documentFarming systems of tropical Africa and their sustainability under changing conditions
View the documentIngredients of sustainable farming systems and issues to be considered in the design of these systems
View the documentSectorial interface requirements
View the documentConclusions and recommendations
View the documentReferences
close this folderPilot study of production pressure and environmental change in the forest-savanna zone of southern Ghana
close this folder5: Background and objectives of the study of production pressure and environmental change in the southern forest-savanna transition zone
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View the documentObjectives
View the documentHypotheses
View the documentThe forest-savanna zone
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close this folder6: A multidisciplinary integrated methodology
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View the documentField study
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close this folder7: Land use and cover patterns
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View the documentMethodology
View the documentResults
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close this folder8: Soils
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View the documentMaterials and method
View the documentAnalyses
View the documentResults and discussion
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close this folder9: Floral and faunal diversity
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View the documentMaterials and methods
View the documentResults and other observations
View the documentOther observations
View the documentDiscussion
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close this folder10: Population growth and urban demand
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View the documentPopulation growth
View the documentUrban demand
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close this folder11: Ability of the farming systems to cope and strategies for sustaining farming
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View the documentThe agroenvironmental changes and adaptations
View the documentDeclining yields
View the documentStrategies for sustaining farming
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close this folder12: Gender and non-governmental organizations in environmental management
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View the documentGender and non-governmental organizations
View the documentEnvironmental and agricultural changes
View the documentMeasures for coping with the adverse changes
View the documentThe relative roles of NGOs and GOs
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close this folderRelated studies
close this folder13: Interacting with the environment: Adaptation and regeneration on degraded land in upper Manya Krobo
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View the documentUpper Manya Krobo
View the documentResearch methodology
View the documentLand degradation and its consequences
View the documentAdaptation, regeneration and innovation
View the documentImplications for research
View the documentAcknowledgement
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close this folder14: Land use and cover change in the southern forest-savanna transition zone in Ghana: A sequence model
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentStudy area
View the documentConceptual basis
View the documentStudies
View the documentLand use and cover sequences
View the documentFood cropping on abandoned land
View the documentLand use and cover sub-sequences
View the documentGeneral indications and future trends
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close this folder15: Women, environmental change and economic crisis in Ghana
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentBackground to the research: Economic crisis and structural adjustment
View the documentEnvironmental degradation in North-Eastern Ghana
View the documentGender and agricultural systems in North-Eastern Ghana
View the documentThe gender division of labour
View the documentStructural adjustment and its impact on health, nutrition and consumption patterns
View the documentChanges in educational status
View the documentChanges in income-generating activities
View the documentChanges in women's time use
View the documentWomen's time use and seasonality
View the documentConclusion
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close this folderConclusions
close this folder16: Conclusions and directions for future research
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View the documentResearch objectives
View the documentMethodology
View the documentResearch extension
View the documentOther recommendations
View the documentContributors

Opening address

Christina Amoako-Nuama

Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chancellor, Representative of the United Nations University, Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great pleasure for me to be here to address you at the opening of the Regional Workshop on Environment, Biodiversity and Agricultural Change, because the theme of the workshop is at the heart of the issue my ministry is trying to address. The environmental agenda for the 1990s is getting increasingly complex at both the national and global levels due to the growing threat on life support systems. There is therefore the need to examine the underlying causes of the threat to the citizenry of Ghana.

Most times, Ghanaians as a nation overemphasise the weight of the abundance of our natural resource endowment, with minimal or no emphasis at all on the importance of proper management of these resources. The mismanagement of these resources has resulted in a host of environmental problems which affect the quality of life we all yearn to enjoy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ghana's environmental management strategy as set forth in the Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) aims at ensuring reconciliation between development and natural resource conservation in order to make a high quality environment, a key element in support of the country's economic and social development. The strategy recognises among others the need:

  • to maintain ecosystem and ecological processes;
  • to adequately protect humans, animals and plants, their biological com unities and habitats against harmful impacts and destructive practices and preserve biological diversity.

The guiding principle of this strategy is the preventive approach which commits government to a number of actions. Some of these actions which are relevant for this workshop are:

  • the creation of awareness among all sections of the community;
  • the development of procedures for the utilisation of land resources in a manner that ensures a maximum degree of economy in the use of land;
  • minimisation of land use conflicts;
  • encouragement of measures to protect critical ecosystems against any harmful or destructive practices;
  • and the promotion and support of research into environmental problems to improve understanding of environmental issues.

Mr. Chairman, it is therefore gratifying to note that these objectives have found expression in the effort of the United Nations University (UNU) and the University of Ghana in undertaking the pilot study of pressure on the environment and change in biodiversity and agriculture in Ghana's forest-savanna ecotone. This workshop is to me therefore significant in two principal ways.

The first is that it emphasises the importance of cooperation between local and international institutions to come together to provide insight into the emerging complex environmental problems facing mankind.

The second is that it seeks to involve small farmers in the study and their participation in the workshop in an effort to integrate such farmers into agroenvironmental research to achieve realistic community-based agroenvironmental enhancement programmes.

This is a departure from past efforts, where research was carried out without the involvement of farmers, who are the real decision makers on land use, and who can help redress environmental deterioration. This is heart-warming, as there is a growing awareness of the need for the involvement of local people as active partners in all aspects of the research and development process. The immense wealth of traditional know-how, especially in agricultural systems, should be brought to bear on improper land use practices by research projects such as this one to reinforce sustainable practices.

Ladies and Gentlemen, another significant aspect of the study is the question of the interrelationships between population dynamics and environmental change. This aspect of the study seeks to examine and disaggregate the processes of adaptation of indigenous resource management systems and land use through a series of field-based research projects in key aero-ecological zones of tropical and subtropical environments. Most of the environmental problems facing us are due to rapid population growth which puts pressure on environmental resources.

I wish to use this opportunity to congratulate all the collaborators in this study for their contribution towards good environmental management practice in Ghana. In the same vein, I wish to call on other scientists to emulate this example to make their research meaningful to the land users, and to pledge that my ministry will offer its full support and recognition to any such effort towards solving our environmental problems.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Participants, you have assembled here to consider a set of objectives during the workshop. These are:

  • to discuss the findings of the United Nations University Programme on Population, Land Management and Environmental Change (PLEC) pilot study of pressure on the environment and change in biodiversity and agriculture in Ghana's forest ecotone;
  • to identify possible strategies of extending PLEC research to other agroecological zones in West Africa;
  • and to integrate farmers' groups and other environmental actors and parties into an extended research programme, in the quest for sustainable systems of managing the environment by small farmers under conditions of population pressure.

The outcome of your deliberations on the findings is likely to affect the lives of many farmers and the status of the environment for good or ill. However, I am confident, based on the laudable objectives set for the workshop, that the outcome will be a positive one. It is therefore imperative on all assembled here to discuss the issues before you in a dispassionate manner, taking into account the many small-scale farmers who are struggling to eke out a living with attendant sideeffects on the environment. This group of people, wherever they are, are unknowingly counting on you to give them hope to provide the current formula to get them out of their environmental insecurity.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, on this note, I wish to declare the PLEC/INRA Regional Workshop on Environment, Biodiversity and Agricultural Change in West Africa opened.

I wish you fruitful deliberations. Thank you.