The overall objective of the study was to map trees outside forest (TOF) in croplands, and their contribution to the supply of ecosystem services for local and national beneficiaries using participatory research, Google Earth and ArcMap in Ghana, as the case study area. A satellite image available from Google Earth was used to map croplands, and ArcMap was used to calculate the local and national ecosystem service hot spot areas based on the values assigned to each TOF individuals. The research identified and mapped a total of 786 TOF individuals and 50 TOF species in 147 ha of croplands in the study area. Ficus exasperate, Morinda lucida, Ceiba pentandra, Spathodea campanulata, Mangifera indica, Sterculia tragacantha, Funtumia elastic, Ficus carpensis, Vernonia amygdalina and Trilipisium madagascariense were the top ten most dominant species in terms of species occurrence. Fifteen different local ecosystem services supplied by TOF species, and the hotspot areas were identified and mapped. The total carbon stored by all 786 TOF in 147 ha of the study area was 759 tons of carbon. The most important TOF species and hotspot locations that require special planning, conservation, and management focus were identified and mapped. There was a poor correlation between the importance and location of the key species for local and national beneficiaries which might lead to a conflict of interest and illegal tree felling.
Key words: Trees in croplands, geographic information system (GIS), ecosystem benefits, beneficiaries, tree management.
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