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Kofi Akamani, Department of Forestry, Southern Illinois University, k.akamani@siu.edu (Presenter)

 

Agroforestry, the deliberate integration of annual and perennial crops, is a promising pathway for enhancing human well-being, as well as the health and productivity of forests. As such, it has the potential to enhance community resilience – the capacity for communities to absorb or respond to unpredictable events so as to maintain or enhance their well-being. In Ghana, agroforestry has been practiced for several decades as a means of forest restoration and the enhancement of local livelihoods. Yet the methods for assessing the impacts of agroforestry are not fully developed and its impacts on community resilience are not clearly understood. This study employed a qualitative approach to assessing the impact of Ghana’s agroforestry program on the various dimensions of community resilience: natural capital, social capital, economic capital, physical capital, and human capital. Key informant interviews were conducted among representatives of various sectors of two forest-dependent communities in southern Ghana, as well as representatives of NGOs and government agencies involved in forest management. The data was transcribed and analyzed using multiple coders. The comprehensiveness and validity of results were enhanced through deviant case analysis and triangulation of interview data with document reviews. The results showed that while the impact of the program varied within and across the various dimensions of community resilience, both communities have experienced marginal improvements in their resilience. Major constraints inhibiting the success of the program are identified and suggestions are offered on how to enhance the contributions of agroforestry to the resilience of communities and forests.