BUSHFIRES IN THE KRACHI DISTRICT: THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS
Keywords: Bushfires, Fire severity, Krachi District of Ghana, Normalised Burn Ratio, Remote Sensing, Change Detection
Abstract. Bushfires are becoming one of the environmental challenges confronting Ghana and increasingly it has become difficult for the Government to control it because this activity is deeply rooted in the socio-cultural and economic systems of the people. The effects of bushfire on rural livelihoods and on the ecosystem in Ghana are extensive and damaging. Bushfires have accelerated environmental degradation especially in the fragile savannah ecosystem, yet there is very little in the form of public education, published data and information concerning the frequency, intensity, duration and effects of bushfire on the environment and human welfare in Ghana. The study did a change detection of biomass cover using pre and post fire normalized burnt ratio of Landsat TM+ imageries of 2002 and 2003 to determine fire severity on vegetative cover. The socio-economic impact of this disaster was collected using social survey approaches such as interviews and focus group meetings. Some of the consequences of the bushfire include the burning of food stuffs, houses as well as domestic animals. The environmental impacts of these bushfires have been very devastating and these involve the lost of biodiversity (plants and animals) and the depletion of organic matter of the soil thus impoverishing the soils. The research found out that, the continuous prevalence of this activity was due to the laxity in the implementation of bye-laws regulating bushfire burning due to the lack of personnel and logistics to state agencies in the District to combat the problem.