An Assessment of Urban Vegetation Abundance in Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana: A Geospatial Approach

Alex Barimah Owusu 1
  • 1 Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, LG 59, Legon, Ghana

Abstract

The essential role played by urban vegetation in making urban areas livable is often overlooked in many developing cities. This is the case of Ghana where its capital, Accra is developing at the expense of urban vegetation. This study was conducted at the metropolitan area of Accra to estimate how the extent of vegetation cover has changed in the period of 1986-2013, using remote sensing satellite data from Landsat TM and ETM+. Furthermore, views of key informants were assessed on changes in the livability of the city of Accra which may be attributed to loss of urban green vegetation in the city. It was found that between 1986 and 2013, 42.53 km2 of vegetation was lost representing 64.6% of total vegetation in 1986. The rate of change in vegetation cover between 1986 and 1991 measured around 2.14% of the total land area annually. This however, reduced in the subsequent years measuring 0.26% between 2002 and 2008. Key informants interviewed, also believe that the loss of vegetation in the city creates livability concerns relating to ecosystem functioning, temperature rise and air quality. It is therefore recommended for urban planners and decision makers to address three critical concerns of resilience, sustainability and livability, which are the missing links in the city development agenda.

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