Envisioning the Future of Mosaic Landscapes: Actor Perceptions in a Mixed Cocoa/Oil-Palm Area in Ghana

Kwabena O. Asubonteng*, Mirjam A. F. Ros-Tonen, Isa Baud, K. Pfeffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The future and benefits of mosaic landscapes have been a source of scientific and societal concern due to increasing population growth, climate change, urbanization, and expanding agricultural commodities. There is a growing call for integrated landscape approaches in which landscape actors discuss trade-offs between different land uses with a view to reaching a negotiated decision on the allocation of land uses. Yet, the operationalization of such approaches is still in its infancy, and integrated methodologies to visualize actors’ landscape visions are still scarce. This study therefore presents a participatory spatial scenario-building methodology that uncovers local perceptions of landscape dynamics and needed actions in a mixed cocoa-oil-palm landscape in Ghana’s Eastern Region. The methodology visualizes landscape actors’ perceived plausible changes and desired future landscapes, and is designed to trigger discussions on actions needed to achieve these desired futures. Findings show that farmers and institutional actors are aware of their landscapes with future preferences coming close to actual landscape composition and spatial configuration, and that—contrary to common assumptions—only those in the oil-palm-dominated landscape who already experienced the drawbacks of increasing landscape homogenization desire a mosaic landscape. The paper concludes that the collective mapping process makes actors aware of challenges at landscape level and increases farmers’ negotiation power through active engagement in the process and visualization of their knowledge and visions. Application of the methodology requires dedicated funding, political will, and capacity to apply it as an ongoing process, as well as monitoring feedback loops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • ITC-ISI-JOURNAL-ARTICLE
  • ITC-HYBRID

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