We investigated the effect of cocoa farming on biodiversity and ecosystem services under different cocoa management systems. The study was carried out in three cocoa producing districts in southwestern Ghana using Y-frame sampling scheme. Five 25 m × 25 m size plots were demarcated at 100 m intervals along in the cocoa farms and the natural forest reserves. Fifteen plots were demarcated in the cocoa farms per community giving a total of 90 plots. Significant decrease in tree species diversity and soil microfungi diversity were recorded in the intensive cocoa farmland compared traditional cocoa and natural forest. Soil invertebrate species diversity was high in traditional cocoa farms than in natural forest. Shaded litter fall production declined in the different cocoa management systems. Total nitrogen content and phosphorus were high in intensive cocoa farms and low in the natural forest. Soil organic carbon was high in the natural forest and low in the intensive cocoa farms. Total litter mass was high in the traditional cocoa farms and low in natural forests. The magnitude of carbon stocks decrease in the cocoa farms compared to the natural forest. For a successful cocoa production, shaded cocoa agroforest system must be encouraged in order to ensure biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and a sustainable management of cocoa farmlands to check global climate change.
Key words: Agricultural intensification, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, deforestation.
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