Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 394

Full Length Research Paper

Forest composition and productivity changes as affected by human activities in the natural forestË— savanna zone in Northern Ghana

  • Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University for Development Studies, P. O. Box 24, Navrongo, U.E. Region, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 November 2014
  •  Accepted: 03 April 2015
  •  Published: 15 April 2015


Assessing the impact of anthropogenic activities on forest ecosystems dynamics is valuable in managing and maintaining the long-term productivity of forests and ensuring forest ecosystem sustainability and ecological balance. In view of this, the objective of this study was to evaluate the induced effects of anthropogenic activities on the forestË—savanna zones in Northern Ghana. The study assessed the impacts on the woody plant species composition and the above-ground and below-ground herbaceous biomass productivity in three forest areas. Three study zones (Wungu, Serigu and Mognori) consisting of two neighbouring forest types, namely the protected and anthropogenic activities prone types were used for the comparative study. 30 × 30 m and 1 × 1 m random plots and subplots were used to determine the vegetation composition and productivity across the three study areas. A total of 96 random samples of aboveË—ground live biomass, and the same number of litter and root biomass samples were collected in both forest types of each study zone to make composite samples for the comparative analysis. Differences in the woody plant composition were observed between the two types of forest across the three study zones. The results show that total aboveË—ground biomass (live plus litter biomass) and total plant biomass (total aboveË—ground plus root biomass) productivity were generally significantly (P< 0.05) lower in all the unprotected than the adjacent protected areas. From the present study, it could be concluded that forest composition and productivity can be protected and sustained by effectively monitoring and regulating anthropogenic activities across the natural savanna ecological zone in Northern Ghana. 
Key words: Forest ecosystems, savanna ecological zone, anthropogenic activities, above-ground and below-ground biomass productivity.