Strategic Environmental Assessment(SEA) as A Sustainability Tool For Policy And Decision Making: A Case of Forest Resource Management in The ABUAKWA SOUTH Municipality of Eastern Region of Gh

ABSTRACT

Environmental degradation and the unsustainable exploitation of non-renewable resources continue to increase to satisfy socio-economic demands which call on a National Development Agenda to make use of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as sustainability tools imperative. The use of these tools is to balance environmental and economic sustainability with institutional capacity building, and social cohesion to direct the sustainable management of natural resources and development planning. A study to assess the role of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as a sustainability tool in managing the Atiwa Forest reserve and its resources is reported in this thesis. The Atiwa Forest reserve, located in the Abuakwa South Municipality in the Eastern Region of Ghana, is one of the few primary highland forests in West Africa and the only remaining type in Ghana. It is also a biodiversity hotspot in the IUCN biodiversity conservation list, and serves as the source of 3 major rivers in Ghana; Birim, Ayensu and the Densu Rivers, which together serve the potable water needs of about 20% of Ghana’s population. The Atiwa Forest reserve is known to be holding a chunk of the nation’s minerals like bauxite, gold, diamond, and kaolin, which is currently being targeted by the Government for massive exploitation, especially bauxite, to drive the nation’s developmental agenda. Specifically, the study determined the readiness of the Abuakwa South Municipal Assembly to mainstream SEA in the sustainable management of the natural resources of the Atiwa forest. Further, community perception on this level of sustainability of forest management was assessed, as well as rainfall and temperature variability in relation to forest cover. Finally, carbon stock of forest trees and soil were assessed in three land cover types as part of Ghana’s efforts to meet its intended Nationally Determined Contributions (iNDCs), an obligation in the Paris Agreement (2015). The research employed simple random and purposive sampling methodology for data acquisition, sought the knowledge of local communities and the formal institutions related to managing the resource as well. Landsat imagery was acquired for the years 1986, 2003 and 2017 to analyze the trend in land cover changes in Atiwa forest. Allometric standard methods were used to estimate tree biomass and carbon, necromass biomass and carbon and carbon stocks of soil (Chave et al. (2005); Pearson et al. (2005); Walkley-Black (2015) and Pearson et al. (2005). Expansion factor on per hectare scale and the potential carbon weight that could be lost to the atmosphere were estimated using the Walker et al. (2011) equation. A one-way ANOVA was performed to determine the mean differences between various environmental (ecological and social) parameters as well. Results indicate that SEA mainstreaming in the Abuakwa South Municipal Assembly is being fairly implemented, with public participation, institutional capacity building (in operational logistics) as well as economic sustainability (alternative livelihood support projects) lacking. In addition, there is a significant improvement in forest cover (2003 to 2017) after a significant decline from 1986 to 2003. Further, the state of the forest has improved as of 2017 by a significant margin with a consequent improvement in tree carbon stocks between 1986 and 2017 although bare/settlement land continues to increase since 1986. Results from Pearson correlation between soil organic carbon and tree parameters (height, density per hectare and dbh) showed no significant correlation to the value of p˂ 0.01. The highest correlation was 0.950 tree density per hectare with the least value of tree height at 0.007. Similarly, simple and multiple regression analysis between soil carbon and tree parameters showed coefficient determinants to be 0.008 and 0.260. The highest adjusted R2 for coefficiency determination was 0.054 which was recorded for tree height only, tree height and tree density per hectare, tree height and diameter at breast height as well as tree height, diameter at breast height and density per hectare. The least adjusted R2 for coefficiency determination was recorded for tree density per hectare only at -0.015. Findings from the study, however, did not agree entirely with the progress and success of SEA specifically on the Atiwa Forest reserve management as indicated in the 2014- 2017 Medium Term Development Plan report of the Abuakwa South Municipality. The report showed steady efforts in maintaining environmental sustainability which corroborated the findings of the study. Also, results on other pillars like social inclusion and institutional capacity building in conserving the forest reserve showed poorly in the findings of the study which did not corroborate the progress report of Abuakwa South Municipality for the 2014-2017 Medium Term Development Plan. The relationship between soil organic carbon stock, tree density per hectare, tree height and tree diameter at breast height were statistically not significant at 0.950, 0.007 and 0.88 respectively. These were similar to the findings of Zhou et al. (2012), Li et al. (2013) and Djagbletey (2015). The study concluded there is a fair level of implementation of Strategic Environmental Assessment in the management of natural resources within the Atewa Forest which was evident in the significant increase in forest tree stocks and its subsequent increase in tree and soil carbon stocks. Nonetheless, it is recommended that the Government must strengthen its economic sustainability framework to decrease extensive exploitation on the forest cover. Finally, benefits accrued from the conservation must be equitably shared with the forest communities to ensure social inclusion and promote participation in the efforts towards conservation of the forest.

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APA

OPPONG, J (2021). Strategic Environmental Assessment(SEA) as A Sustainability Tool For Policy And Decision Making: A Case of Forest Resource Management in The ABUAKWA SOUTH Municipality of Eastern Region of Gh. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/strategic-environmental-assessment-sea-as-a-sustainability-tool-for-policy-and-decision-making-a-case-of-forest-resource-management-in-the-abuakwa-south-municipality-of-eastern-region-of-ghan

MLA 8th

OPPONG, JIMMY "Strategic Environmental Assessment(SEA) as A Sustainability Tool For Policy And Decision Making: A Case of Forest Resource Management in The ABUAKWA SOUTH Municipality of Eastern Region of Gh" Afribary. Afribary, 14 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/strategic-environmental-assessment-sea-as-a-sustainability-tool-for-policy-and-decision-making-a-case-of-forest-resource-management-in-the-abuakwa-south-municipality-of-eastern-region-of-ghan. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

MLA7

OPPONG, JIMMY . "Strategic Environmental Assessment(SEA) as A Sustainability Tool For Policy And Decision Making: A Case of Forest Resource Management in The ABUAKWA SOUTH Municipality of Eastern Region of Gh". Afribary, Afribary, 14 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 Jul. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/strategic-environmental-assessment-sea-as-a-sustainability-tool-for-policy-and-decision-making-a-case-of-forest-resource-management-in-the-abuakwa-south-municipality-of-eastern-region-of-ghan >.

Chicago

OPPONG, JIMMY . "Strategic Environmental Assessment(SEA) as A Sustainability Tool For Policy And Decision Making: A Case of Forest Resource Management in The ABUAKWA SOUTH Municipality of Eastern Region of Gh" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 13, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/strategic-environmental-assessment-sea-as-a-sustainability-tool-for-policy-and-decision-making-a-case-of-forest-resource-management-in-the-abuakwa-south-municipality-of-eastern-region-of-ghan