Combining Ethnographic Techniques and Geospatial Analysis to Assessing Drivers of Land Use Change in Ghana – A mixed-method approach

Authors: Henry Bulley*, CUNY BMCC, Henry N. N Bulley, BMCC, City University of New York, New York, NY 10007, United States, Janina Kleemann, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Walter-Flex-Str. 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: LULCC (Land use and land cover change), Mixed-methods, Ethnographic Techniques, Geospatial Analysis, Human-environmental interactions
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A complex set of human-environmental interactions often produces changes in landscape structure due to Land use and land cover change (LULCC). However, most land use change models usually focus on two dimensions of biophysical and human activities with different levels of emphasis. Since social and ecological processes operate at different spatio-temporal scales and contexts, there is a need for a third dimension known as the human decision-making. For example, in developing countries, knowledge of key drivers of LULCC including indirect drivers which cannot be easily determined by Geospatial or Socio-economic analyses alone, is essential for land use planning. This presentation will highlight a mixed-method approach to assessing drivers of LULCC in the Upper East Region of Ghana. The study incorporated different Ethnographic Techniques (qualitative) and Geospatial Analysis (quantitative) methods and their performance were compared using confidence level analysis. The results suggested with very high confidence that population growth, especially in rural areas, is a major driver of LULCC. Additionally, current farming practice, bush fires, livestock, the road network and climate variability were identified as the main direct drivers of LULCC, while the financial capital of farmers and customary norms regarding land tenure were also found to be important indirect drivers of LULCC with high confidence. Overall the presentation will showcase the need for a mixed-method approach to improve the confidence of assessing and modelling drivers of LULCC, especially in developing countries.

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