Welcome to International Network for Natural Sciences | INNSpub

Biodiversity of Woody Species and their Utilization in a Savannah Ecological zone of Northern Ghana

Research Paper | March 1, 2016

| Download 11

R. Mensah, Effah AK, Attua EM, Chimsah FA, Boakye-Danquah J, Sackey I

Key Words:

J. Bio. Env. Sci.8( 3), 22-45, March 2016


JBES 2016 [Generate Certificate]


Biodiversity composition and usage is fundamental to human existence. We aim in this study to: profile and estimate woody species diversity, identify their preferences, uses and assess local communities’ perception on species dominance, density, disturbance and options for biodiversity management. The research employed quantitative and qualitative survey methods. Semi-structured questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions were used for data collection. Stratified random sampling aided selection of study plots using 10m × 10m quadrat in four major LUs. The Sorenson index aided species similarity levels assessment. Family Importance Value used to determine most important plant families. The Shannon-Weiner Diversity and Evenness index were used to determine species diversity and evenness. Pearson Correlation Coefficient helped establish correlation among dominant, preferred, disturbed species. A total of 66 woody plant species belonging to 26 families and 54 genera were identified. Trend of high species diversity was found in; sacred groves followed by fallow fields, grazed open fields and cultivated fields. Reduction in species densities over the last decade was widely cited as reasons for this trend. Strong significant differences between dominant and preferred species were observed in Kpalgun (r=0.92, p<0.01), Cheshegu (r=0.90, p<0.01), Zagua (r=0.89, p<0.01), Daboshie (r=0.98, p<0.01) and Fihini (r=0.79, p<0.01). Most common species uses are food, fuel, income, medicine and construction. In Tolon district, biodiversity management is through enforcement of traditional norms and taboos; though bush fires and species exploitation affect sustainable biodiversity management. The study highlights rarity and commonness of plant species distribution in rarely assessed Savannah Ecological zone.


Copyright © 2016
By Authors and International Network for
Natural Sciences (INNSPUB)
This article is published under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution Liscense 4.0

Biodiversity of Woody Species and their Utilization in a Savannah Ecological zone of Northern Ghana

Abayie Boateng B.1998. Traditional Conservation Practices: Ghana’s Example. Institute of African Studies Research Review (Ns) 14(1), 42-51.

Amy S, Jo Anderson V, Fugal R. 2013. Kochia prostrata establishment with pre-seeding disturbance in three plant communities. International Research Journal of Agricultural Science and Soil Science 3(10), 353-361.

Anderson MT, Frank DA. 2003. Defoliation effects on reproductive biomass: importance of scale and timing. J. Range Management 56, 501-516.

Aniah P, Aasoglenang AT, Bonye SZ. 2014. Behind the myth: Indigenous knowledge and belief systems in natural resource conservation in north east, Ghana. International Journal of Environmental Protection and Policy 2(3), 104-112.

Anna L. 1990. Plants for People. Oxford University press.

Antwi EK, Otsuki K, Osamu S, Obeng FK, Gyekye KA, Boakye-Danquah J. 2014. Developing a Community-Based Resilience Assessment Model with reference to Northern Ghana. Journal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management 4(1), 73–92.

Arbonnier M. 2004. Trees, shrubs and lianas of West African dry zones. CIRAD, Magraf publishers GMBH.

Asase A, Oteng-Yeboah AA. 2012. Plants used in Wechiau Community Hippopotamus Sanctuary in Northwest Ghana. Journal of Ethnobotany Research & Applications 10, 605-618.

Attua EM, Pabi O. 2013. Tree species composition, richness and diversity in the northern forest-savanna ecotone Of Ghana. Journal of Applied Biosciences 69, 5437-5448.

Blench R. 2004. Cultural and biological interactions in the savanna woodlands of Northern Ghana: sacred forests and management of trees. Paper presented at the Conference Trees, Rain and Politics in Africa. Available online: (accessed on February 11, 2015).

Chambers R. 2007. From PRA to PLA and pluralism: practice and theory IDS working paper 386 Sussex (UK): Institute of development studies, university of Sussex.

Cox M, Arnold G, Villamayor Tomas. 2010. A review of design principles for community base natural resource management. Environment and Society, 15 (4), 38.

Cox G. 1990. Laboratory manual of general ecology 6th Ed. Dubuque, Iowa.

Dorm-Adjobu C, Ampadu-Agyei O, Veit PG. 1991. Religious beliefs and environmental protection: the Malshegu sacred grove in northern Ghana. From the ground up case study no. 4 centre for international development and environment, world resources institute, Washington USA.

Dovie DBK. 2003. Rural economy and livelihoods from non-timber forests products trade. Compromising sustainability in southern Arica? International journal of sustainable development and world economy 10(3), 247-262. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504500309469803.

Ecosystem Alliance Programme (EAP). 2015. Available online: (Accessed on July 17, 2015). http://www.ecosystem-alliance.org/

Ellenberg H. 1956. Aufgaben und Methoden der vegetationskunde.Stuttgart.

Ellis EC, Kaplan JO, Fuller DQ, Vavrus S, Goldewijk KK, Verburg PH. 2013. Used planet: A global history. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 110(20), 7978–7985. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas. 1217241110

Gilbert B, Turkington R, Srivastava DS. 2009. Dominant Species and Diversity: Linking Relative Abundance to Controls of Species Establishment. The American naturalist 174, 6.

Gyasi EA, Gordana KB. 2006. Root causes of land degradation; in Sustainable Land Management for Mitigating Land Degradation: Lessons from the Slam Project Experience in Ghana.

Hansen  NT,  Raebild  A,  Hansen  HH.  2012. Management of trees in northern Ghana- when the approach  of development organizations  contradicts local practices, forests, tees and livelihoods 21(4), 241-252. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14728028.2012.739381.

Harshberger JW. 1970. The vegetation of New Jersey Pine-Barrens. An Ecological Investigation. Dover Publications Incorporations, New York

Kent M, Coker P. 1992. Vegetation Description and Analysis: A Practical Approach. Belhaven Press, London.

Kusimi JM, Appati JW. 2012. Bushfires In The Krachi District: The Socio-Economic and Environmental Implications. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences XXXIX-B8, 39-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/isprsarchives-XXXIX-B8-39-2012

Kristensen M, Lykke AM. 2003. Informant-based valuation of use and conservation preferences of savanna trees in Burkina Faso. Economic Botany 57(2), 203-217.

Liu H, Xu Z, Xu Y, Wang J. 2002. Practice of conserving plant diversity through traditional beliefs: a case study in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China. Biodiversity and Conservation 11(4), 705–713.

Lykke AM, Kristensen MK, Ganaba S. 2004. Valuation of local use and dynamics of 56 woody species in the Sahel. Biodiversity and Conservation 13, 1961–1990. Kluwer Academic Publisher.

Magurran AE. 1988. Ecological Diversity and Its Measurement. Princeton University Press Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Maranz S, Wiesman Z, Bisgaard J, Bianchi G. 2004. Germplasm resources of vitellaria paradoxa based on variations in fat composition across the species distribution range. Agroforestry Systems 60(1), 71-76.

McCabe DJ, Gotelli NJ. 2000. Effects of disturbance frequency, intensity, and area on assemblages of stream macroinvertebrates. Oecologia 124, 270–279.

Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI). 2011. The National Portfolio Formulation Document (NPFD). Available online: (accessed on October 26, 2014).

Mori SA, Boom BM, Carvalino AM, Santos D. 1983. The ecological importance of Myrtaceae in eastern Brazilian wet forest. Journal of Biotropica 15, 68-70.

Norris K, Asase A, Collen B, Gockowksi J, Mason J, Phalan B, Wade A. 2010. Biodiversity in a forest-Agriculture mosaic – The changing face of West African Rainforests. Journal of Biological Conservation 143, 2341–2350.

Ntiamoa-Baidu Y. 1995. Indigenous vs. introduced biodiversity conservation strategies: the case of protected area systems in Ghana. Afr. Biodiversity Series 1 Biodiversity Support Program, Washington, DC.

Pickett STA, White PS. 1985. The Ecology of Natural Disturbance and Patch Dynamics. Academic Press, Inc., London.

Raupp MJ, Shrewsbury PM, Holmes JJ, Davidson JA. 2001. Plant Species Diversity and Abundance Affects the Number of Arthropod Pests in Residential Landscapes. Journal of Arboriculture 27(4), 222-229.

Roth DS, Perfecto I, Rathcke B. 1994. The effects of management systems on ground-foraging ant diversity in Costa Rica. Ecological Applications 4, 423-436.

Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA). 2009. Available online: (Accessed on July 18 2015).

Theilade I, Hansen HH, Krogh MP, Ruffo CK. 2007. Use-values and relative importance of trees to the Kaguru people in semi-arid Tanzania: Part II, woodland species. For trees Live 17,109-123.

Tiner RW. 1999. Wetland indicators: A guide to wetland identification, delineation, classification and mapping. CRC Press LLC Boca Raton, Florida.

Tolon District Assembly. 2006. Available online: (accessed on July 20, 2015).

Tom-Dery D, Frolich SK, Frey E. 2014. Problems in afforestation of rural areas of Northern Ghana: community viewpoint. J. of Horticulture and Forestry. 6(2), 22- 30.

Tom-Dery D, Hinneh P, Asante WJ. 2013. Biodiversity in kenikeni forest reserve of Northern Ghana Journal of agricultural research. 8(46), 5896-5904.

Tyowua BT, Agbelusi EA, Dera BA. 2013. Evaluation of Vegetation Types and Utilization in Wildlife Park of the University of Agriculture Makurdi, Nigeria. Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 3(1), pp. 001-005.

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). 1992. Oxford University Press, London.

United Nations Development Programme Climate Change Country Profiles (UNDPCC). Ghana. 2008. Available online: (accessed on July 20, 2014).

United Nations Millennium Report (UN Millennium Report). 2006. (accessed on July 2, 2015).

Wohlgemuth T, Burgi M, Scheidegger C, Schutz M. 2002. Dominance reduction of species through disturbance—a proposed management principle for central European forests. Forest Ecology and Management 166, 1–15.

World Bank. 1999. Annual Review on Environmental Matters: Towards Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development. Washington, DC.

World Health Organization. 2003. Fact sheet No. 134.2003. Revised: December 2008.

World Health Organization (WHO). 2002. Traditional Medicine Strategy. Available online: (accessed on April 20, 2015).

World Health Organization (WHO). 1999. The Use of Traditional Medicine in health care system. Available online: (accessed on March 30, 2015).

Yansaneh IS. 2005. An analysis for cost issues of surveys in developing and transition countries. In household sample surveys developing and transition countries. 253-66. NewYork, United Nations.

Yaro JA. 2008. An examination of theories on savannanization and the peasant-environment debate. West Africa. Journal of Applied Ecology 13, 3-16.

Ziblim IA, Khan AT, Deo-Anyi EJ. 2013. Exploitation and use of medicinal plants, Northern region, Ghana. Journal of medical plant research 7(27), 1984- 1993.