AffiliationOffice of Arid Lands Studies, University of Arizona
KeywordsNatural resources -- Ghana
Environmental protection -- Ghana
Physical geography -- Ghana
Human ecology -- Ghana
MetadataShow full item record
DescriptionPrepared by the Arid Lands Information Center, Office of Arid Lands Studies, University of Arizona ; Sandra J. Turner, compiler.
SponsorsNational Park Service Contract No. CX-0001-0-0003 with U.S. Man and the Biosphere Secretariat, Department of State, Washington, D.C.
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West African Monsoon Variability from a High-Resolution Paleolimnological Record (Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana)Shanahan, Timothy Michael (The University of Arizona., 2006)Instrumental and observational records of climate in West Africa suggest that this region may be susceptible to abrupt, decades-long drought events, with potentially catastrophic impacts for the people living in this region. However, because of the dearth of long, continuous and high quality climate records from sub-Saharan Africa, little is known about the long-term frequency and persistence of drought events in this region. It is also unclear whether observed 20th century droughts are natural or due to human impacts. In the present study, we use several complementary approaches to develop a high-resolution record of paleoclimatic changes in West Africa from the geological record preserved at Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana.Our results suggest that West Africa has undergone significant hydrologic variations over the last ca. 10,000 years. The dominant influence on hydrologic changes over this interval was changes in northern hemisphere summer insolation and the associated feedback processes acting in the oceans and on land. This led to a more northerly position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and increased precipitation during the early to mid-Holocene. In the late Holocene, a second increase in precipitation occurred along the Guinea coast as a result of the southward migration of the ITCZ from its northern position. This maximum was followed by an abrupt decrease in precipitation at ca. 2.5-3 kyr.The West African monsoon also varies on timescales from millennia to decades. Millennial and century-scale variations appear to be partly paced by changes in solar irradiance, either directly or indirectly. On decadal timescales, variability appears to be dominated by changes in Atlantic sea surface temperatures. The dominant mode is a ca. 40 year oscillation, which in strongly coherent and in phase with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). It is unclear from this study, however, if drought conditions over the last century are related to this multidecadal oscillation, or if they are forced by anthropogenic changes.
THE POPULATION DYNAMICS OF SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE IN THE WEST AFRICAN SAVANNA: A VILLAGE IN NORTHEAST GHANACleveland, David A. (The University of Arizona., 1980)The West African savanna is characterized by limited and erratic rainfall in one rainy season, increasing degradation of plant and soil resources, a rapidly growing population, and annual food shortages. Zorse is a Kusasi village in Bawku District, Upper Region, northeast Ghana. The Kusasis are intensive farmers of millet and sorghum who live in villages of houses dispersed over the savanna. Surrounding each house is the continuously cultivated field called the saman whose fertility is maintained by annual applications of manure and compost. Field work in Zorse from October, 1978, to March, 1978, included an intensive study of a 50% sample of all houses in the village (n = 126) containing 900 people. In the traditional farming system each household grows and consumes its food as a unit. During the wet season there is a high demand for labor, especially for weeding, but food supplies are at an annual low. In the dry season farming activity is limited to those with dry season gardens. Agricultural development began in earnest in the 1930's but annual food shortages continue to worsen and famine, such as the one in 1976-77 has not been uncommon. Population growth and structure is determined by fertility, mortality, and migration, and reflects the population's relationship to its environment. Population pyramids for Zorse are like those for other areas of the savanna. Their broad bases reflect high mortality and fertility and their skewed sex ratios are the result of excessive outmigration by males 15-45 years old. Migration has been increasing since the beginning of the century and presently about 50% of males 15-45 years old are absent from Zorse and the Upper Region for extended periods of time. Fertility has also been increasing, primarily as a result of decreasing birth intervals, but also as a result of decreasing age at marriage. Birth intervals are controlled by postpartum sexual abstinence. Kusasi couples make the decision to resume intercourse based on the health and development of the youngest child. The shortening of birth intervals reflects the decreased mortality and increased personal security. The pace of social change has increased greatly since the establishment of the British in 1900. The endemic warfare and feuding were stopped and personal security was greatly increased. Public health programs and Western medical treatment were introduced and links with the rest of Ghana and the world were established and began to grow. The savanna environment is fragile and agriculture in Bawku depends on highly variable rainfall of about 1000 mm per year, and on maintaining fertility on the thin, erosion-prone soils. In areas of high population density like Bawku, there is much evidence of soil erosion, loss of soil structure and fertility, and degraded vegetation. The rapid population growth and high emigration rate in Bawku and similar areas of the savanna jeopardize the possibility of improving the food supply. People's decisions about migrating and birth spacing are adaptations to an intensive agricultural system in an environment where productive potential is decreasing under the present system. For the situation to improve it will be necessary for community resources management systems to develop so that demographic and farming behavior by individuals and households will be linked to community well being.
Mineral processing in a less developed country: Bauxite processing in Ghana.Agbolosoo, Emmanuel Kwami. (The University of Arizona., 1991)The purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate the feasiblity of alumina production in Ghana to replace imported alumina for the production of aluminum. It spells out the conditions which led to the existing bauxite-alumina-aluminum trade in the country. The structure of the economy of Ghana is examined to show the contributions of the important sectors to the total income of the country, and its dependence on a few export commodities for revenue. The plan to build a dam for the generation of hydroelectric power was linked to the establishment of an integrated aluminum industry based on the exploitation of domestic bauxite reserves. As the country could not finance the project alone, foreign assistance was sought. VALCO, a subsidiary of Kaiser and Reynolds, was formed to undertake the project. The agreement reached with VALCO was that a smelter would be built to use imported alumina for ten years, during which time a refinery would be built to feed the smelter from domestic sources. However, after ten years this could not be achieved, and the smelter continues to use imported alumina. A model of the world aluminum economy is used for analyzing the sensitivity of price to production and consumption expansion. The results show that industry demand is sensitive to the level of industrial activities in the developed countries, and less sensitive to the own price and cross price variables of aluminum in both the short and long run. On the other hand, supply is inelastic to the own price and the rate of capacity utilization in the short run, but elastic to both variables in the long run. An appraisal of opening a bauxite mine and an alumina refinery at Kibi is undertaken. The results show the levels of bauxite and alumina prices and the costs of construction at which the project is feasible. The shadow values and weights used are permittd to vary with changes in the economy's foreign trade and the balance of payments.