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Bertrand Festus Nero, Daniel Callo-Concha, Manfred Denich. 2018. Structure, Diversity, and Carbon Stocks of the Tree Community of Kumasi, Ghana. Forests (9, 519): 1 - 17 pp.

Urban forestry has the potential to address many urban environmental and sustainability
challenges. Yet in Africa, urban forest characterization and its potential to contribute to human wellbeing
are often neglected or restrained. This paper describes the structure, diversity, and composition of
an urban forest and its potential to store carbon as a means of climate change mitigation and
adaptation in Kumasi. The vegetation inventory included a survey of 470,100-m2 plots based on
a stratified random sampling technique and six streets ranging from 50 m to 1 km. A total of
3757 trees, comprising 176 species and 46 families, were enumerated. Tree abundance and species
richness were left skewed and unimodally distributed based on diameter at breast height (DBH).
Trees in the diameter classes >60 cm together had the lowest species richness (17%) and abundance
(9%), yet contributed more than 50% of the total carbon stored in trees within the city. Overall,
about 1.2 million tonnes of carbon is captured in aboveground components of trees in Kumasi,
with a mean of 228 t C ha−1
. Tree density, DBH, height, basal area, aboveground carbon storage,
and species richness were significantly different among green spaces (p < 0.05). The diversity was
also significantly different among urban zones (p < 0.0005). The DBH distribution of trees followed
a modified reverse J-shaped model. The urban forest structure and composition is quite unique.
The practice of urban forestry has the potential to conserve biological diversity and combat climate
change. The introduction of policies and actions to support the expansion of urban forest cover and
diversity is widely encouraged.

Show details Posted by : Dr. Bertrand Nero

Kiatkamjon Intani, Sajid Latif, Zebin Cao, Joachim Müller. 2018. Characterisation of biochar from maize residues produced in a self-purging pyrolysis reactor. Bioresource Technology (265): 224–235 pp.

Response surface methodology was used to optimise pyrolysis conditions to produce biochar from maize residues (cobs, husks, leaves and stalks). The aim was to obtain biochar with good potential as an additive for composting. Mathematical models were developed to explain the experimental responses of volatile matter content (VM), ash content (AC), pH and electrical conductivity (EC) to the operating parameters such as temperature, heating rate and holding time. The temperature had the most significant influence on biochar properties. AC, pH and EC significantly increased (p < 0.05) with increasing temperature, while the VM decreased. The holding time showed less effect on the responses, while the heating rate had insubstantial effect. Under the optimal conditions, the husk and leaf biochar had higher AC (11.42 and 26.55%), pH (10.96 and 11.51), and EC (12.37 and 6.79 mS/cm), but lower VM (7.38 and 8.39%) than those of cob and stalk biochar.

Show details Posted by : Kiatkamjon Intani

Raymond Jatta, Nana Afranaa Kwapong, Bertrand Festus Nero, Oluwole Fatumbi. 2018. Biomass-Based Innovations in Demand Driven Research and Development Projects in Africa. Sustainability (10 (8)): 1-18 pp.

The case for demand-driven research and development has received important considerations among governments, donors and programme implementing partners in development planning and implementation. Addressing demand is believed to be a bottom-top approach for designing and responding to development priorities and is good for achieving development outcomes. In this paper, we discuss the concept and application of demand-driven research and development (DDRD) in Africa. We use evidence of six projects implemented under the BiomassWeb Project in Africa. We focus on parameters on level of engagement of stakeholders—whose demand is being articulated, the processes for demand articulation, capacity building and implementation processes, innovativeness of the project, reporting and sustainability of the project. We find that the nature of the institutions involved in articulation and implementation of demand-driven research and development projects and their partnerships influence the impact and reporting of demand-driven projects.

Show details Posted by : Dr. Bertrand Nero

Bertrand F. Nero and Alexander K. Anning. 2018. Variations in Soil Characteristics among Urban Green Spaces in Kumasi, Ghana. Environmental Earth Sciences (77 (317)): 1 - 12 pp.

Urban soils, although crucial to defining urban vegetation types and strengthening the resilience of urban ecosystems, can be severely modified by human activities. Yet understanding of these modifications and their implications for soil properties is limited. This study examined the vertical and spatial variability of selected soil physicochemical properties (pH, SOM, OC, TN, and bulk density) in Kumasi, Ghana, using a stratified random sampling technique. Soil samples were collected at three depths (0-15 cm, 15-30 cm, and 30-60 cm) from 161 plots in eight green spaces types within two urban zones.

Mean topsoil pH ranged between 5.0 in the natural forest and 6.5 in home gardens. Mean bulk density, nitrogen, and carbon concentrations differed among green space types and depths (p<0.0001). Soil nitrogen and carbon concentrations in the 0-15 cm depth were two times greater than that of the 30-60 cm depth. Soil pH and organic matter concentrations were higher in the core urban soils than in the peri-urban while the reverse was true for total soil N and bulk density. Canonical discriminant analysis showed considerable separation of green space types based on the soil physicochemical properties. Higher total nitrogen and C:N ratios separated natural forest and cemetery from the other UGS types whereas higher pH and bulk densities separated plantations and home gardens from the rest of the UGS types. Furthermore, the subsoil layers were laden with undecomposed cloths, plastics, concrete and metal parts which can obstruct root growth and water movement. Results generally demonstrate considerable variability in soil properties among urban green spaces, and highlight the need for a better understanding of these patterns to ensure continued support for plant growth, green space sustenance and maintenance, and the ecosystem services derived from them.

Show details Posted by : Dr. Bertrand Nero

Beuchelt, T.D., Mohr, A. and R. Schneider. 2017. The human Right to Food and sustainable soil management: linking voluntary agricultural sustainability standards with food security. Ginzky, H., Heuser, I., Tianbao Qin, Ruppel, O. and P. Wegerdt (eds.). International Yearbook on Soil Law and Policy. Spinger: 237-262 pp.

Land degradation and deforestation worldwide threaten future food and non-food biomass provision. Land degradation may hinder the global shift towards green or bio-economies which requires increasing supplies of biomass. There is a strong linkage between soil management, biomass production and food security. Rising concerns about sustainability aspects have led to the development of voluntary certification standards to ensure that biomass is sustainably produced. So far, these voluntary standards have a strong ecological focus and include only selected social aspects. Food security and the linkage between the Human Right to adequate Food and soil management are hardly addressed though they are a key element of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and important for (export) production and processing in low- and middle income countries. The Sustainable Development Goal 2 - to end all forms of hunger by 2030 - clearly includes sustainable soil management and agriculture. The unification of these two targets in one goal underlines the dependency of the realization of the Human Right to adequate Food on sustainable land management and land use patterns. The objective of this chapter is to first discuss how the Human Right to adequate Food, which is applicable in over 100 countries, is linked to sustainable management of soils and what does this imply. Then we show how the Human Right to adequate Food can be ensured in local biomass production and in certification systems in food insecure regions. We first present a suitable conceptual framework to integrate the Right to food in biomass production, processing and trade. Then we suggest food security criteria to ensure that the Human Right to adequate Food is not violated by certified biomass operators. The suggested criteria are applicable to all biomass types and uses and serve as a best-practice set to complement existing voluntary sustainability standards for biomass.

Show details Posted by : Dr. Tina Beuchelt

Habib,Y., Abagale, F.K.,Amoakoh,O.A.,Jengre,N. and Owusu,K.A.. 2017. Stimulating Riparian Buffer on Agricultural Landscapes: A Review from Water Management and Climate Change Perspective in Ghana. Environment and Forestry (109): 48059-48063 pp.

The current and future states of Agriculture are challenged with limited water resource vis-à-vis global changing climate; erratic rainfall and drought potential, as well as rising temperatures causing evaporation of freshwater resources. There are equally many similar primary causes in addition to the threats outlined as they are directly linked with declining agricultural growth. Farmlands adjoined to freshwater sources (flowing stream), or constructed small-scale reservoirs are used for the purpose of irrigation on an agricultural landscape. Sedimentation, inorganic chemicals and nutrient loading from
crop/livestock fields enter run-off into these water sources posing impairment challenges to the water body and thus, water quality and reservoir capture/holding capacity reduces. Hence, the urgent need for a sustainable approach to manage water resource especially on Agricultural landscapes characterized by this subject matter. The establishment of Riparian buffer system proves to manage these exacerbated effects adequately. Riparian
is significant in environmental and natural resource management as they enhance water quality and biodiversity through its vegetative products and services in land-use systems. In a perspective, riparian buffer can be said to have a dual purpose by contributing to carbon sequestration as well as an adaptive measure in water management; to reduce rate of freshwater evaporation on Agricultural landscapes. Additional products such as food and medicinal benefits could be generated. This paper presents an archetypal Riparian buffer design suitable for replication in Ghana and other countries with emphasis on Agro-ecological gains, climate change resilience and natural resource management and conservation.

Stimulating Riparian Buffer on Agricultural Landscapes: A Review from Water Management and Climate Change Perspective in Ghana. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319292283_Stimulating_Riparian_Buffer_on_Agricultural_Landscapes_A_Review_from_Water_Management_and_Climate_Change_Perspective_in_Ghana [accessed Sep 7, 2017].

Show details Posted by : Alex Owusu Amoakoh

Bertrand F. Nero. 2017. Urban green space dynamics and socio-environmental inequity: multi-resolution and spatiotemporal data analysis of Kumasi, Ghana. International Journal of Remote Sensing (38 (23)): 6993-7020 pp.

Urban green spaces (UGS) are crucial for urban sustainability and resilience to environmental vulnerabilities but are often relegated in cities in the global south. This article analysed the spatio-temporal change, composition, extent, and distributional inequities associated with UGS in Kumasi, Ghana. Spatial techniques and Gini index were combined in the assessment. Kumasi UGS coverage is currently 33% but declined fourfold faster in recent years (2009–2014) than previously (1986–2002). The overall accuracy of the change maps: 1986–2014 and 2009–2014 were, respectively, 0.96 ± 0.02 and 0.97 ± 0.02. The Shannon entropy for built-up sprawl in 1986 and 2014 were 0.80 and 0.99, respectively. The UGS area per capita for 2009 (R2 = 0.50, p = 0.049) and 2014 (R2 = 0.53, p = 0.0398) were moderately correlated with socioeconomic conditions of sub-metropolises. The Gini coefficient for both vegetation and tree cover was 0.26. UGS cover is plummeting and somewhat unevenly distributed across Kumasi. Strategic planning for UGS can ensure ample availability, equity in access, and resilience to climate-related vulnerabilities.

Show details Posted by : Dr. Bertrand Nero

Girma Kelboro and Till Stellmacher. 2015. Protected areas as contested spaces: Nech Sar National Park, Ethiopia, between ‘local people’, the state, and NGO engagement. Environmental Development (Vol. 16): 63-75 pp.

Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Nech Sar National Park in Southern Ethiopia, this paper shows that insufficient consideration of local livelihood needs and land-use patterns constitute major underlying reasons for the limited effectiveness of the national park. We interviewed a total of 120 smallholder and pastoralist households living in and around Nech Sar National Park, using semi-structured questionnaires. We also collected qualitative data through expert interviews, focus group discussions and participatory observation. The findings uncover that there is a mismatch between a top-down, state-initiated conservation approach, local needs as well as regional political interests, conditions to be found in many national parks in sub-Saharan Africa. We conclude that the situation in Nech Sar National Park calls for integrated land-use planning approaches based on transdisciplinary research and involvement of all stakeholders beyond the rhetoric of participation.

Show details Posted by : Dr. Girma Kelboro

Gerba Leta, Girma Kelboro, Till Stellmacher and Anna Katharina-Hornidge. 2017. The Agricultural Extension System in Ethiopia: Operational Setup, Challenges and Opportunities. Working Paper (158). ZEF, Bonn.

Since the 1960s, Ethiopia has been inducing changes in its approaches to agricultural extension through
reforms. In 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources adopted a Participatory Extension
System. Farmers’ group formation accompanies the reform process. This paper analyzes and discusses
how the newly adopted system is structured and operates, the characteristics of extension services, and
the evaluation system employed in agricultural extension, and assesses the challenges and opportunities
associated with the system. Data are drawn from field research carried out in 2015/16 in two districts of
Southwestern Ethiopia. A mixed methods approach was employed, combining qualitative and
quantitative data-collection tools: household survey, expert and key informant interviews, Focus Group
Discussion (FGD), participant observation, and desk literature review. ATLAS.ti and SPSS were used for
data analysis. The findings show that, despite the reforms and a steadily increasing number of
development agents, the advisory service has not yet satisfied farmers’ demands. The formation of
farmers’ groups to increase extension coverage and promote collective action has limited effects and
lacks uniformity across study sites. High input and low output prices are the other limitations on
technology adoption and scaling-up. Despite the emerging opportunities, the agricultural extension
system is constrained by multiple challenges and often perceived as an extended arm of the state, and
less as a useful service provider. From the analyses, we identified a need to create a national strategy for
an agricultural extension system that gives space for pluralistic advisory services while still nurturing the
efficiency, effectiveness and inclusiveness of the public agricultural extension service. In addition, proper
decentralization needs to be promoted to improve participation and encourage all categories of farmers
to develop a sense of ownership and become beneficiaries of the agricultural extension system.
Keywords: Agricultural

Show details Posted by : Dr. Girma Kelboro

Mesele Negash and Girma Kelboro. 2014. Effects of Socio-Economic Status and Food Consumption Pattern on Household Energy uses: Implications for Forest Resource Degradation and Reforestation around Wondo Genet Catchments, South-Central Ethiopia. Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review (Vol. 30, No. 1): 27-46 pp.

Past studies on household energy use paid less attention to the effect of
socio-economic status and food consumption pattern on household
energy consumption. The objective of this study was to investigate the
effect of socio-economic status and food consumption on households’
fuel energy consumption, and implications on forest resource depletion.
Household interview and detailed energy consumption measurement
were carried out. Four top end use types – consuming more wood fuel
equivalent energy in their order of importance included:
(food prepared from
Ensete ventricosum
) > bread (Maize) > roasting
grain (
) > local cabbage. The amount of wood equivalent energy
needed per household per year was highest for rich households,
followed by middle and poor households. The majority of rich
households preferred wood and BLT (branch, leaves, twigs) whereas
poor households prioritized BLT and cow dung as major sources of
energy. The forest in the nearby catchments has served as the source of
fuel wood across all wealth categories. Ninety per cent of the wood
collectors, in particular the poor, were also dependent on the forest
catchments as a source of income. The study concluded that household
energy consumption pattern is affected by socio-economic status, type
of food, fuel, stoves, and amount and frequency of baking and cooking.
Hence, these factors should be considered in household energy saving
interventions and in efforts to reduce its impact on forest degradation.
Show details Posted by : Dr. Girma Kelboro