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Effect of Illegal Small-Scale Mining Operations on Vegetation Cover of Arid Northern Ghana

Author(s): D. Tom-Dery | Z. J. Dagben | S.J. Cobbina

Journal: Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences
ISSN 2041-0484

Volume: 4;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 674;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Galamsey | mined area | small-scale mining | unmined area | vegetation

Illegal small-scale gold mining brings several benefits to developing countries like Ghana, manifested mainly as employment and revenue but simultaneously impacts negatively on the immediate environment. The study tested the hypothesis that density and diversity of key native tree and shrub species differ in the mined and unmined areas of Nangodi in the Talensi-Nabdam District of the Upper East Region, Ghana. A total of 20 plots (10×10 m) were studied in the mined and unmined areas. A total of 8 tree species and 9 shrub species were recorded. The extent of vegetation affected by the activities of illegal small scale miners was assessed. The Simpsons reciprocal diversity index of tree species at mined area was 8.33 as compared to 10.8 for the unmined area. For shrub species, the Simpsons reciprocal diversity index was 8.33 for the mined areas while that of the unmined was 10.2. Common trees and shrubs species were identified in both areas as designated by the calculated Jaccards similarity index of 0.6 for trees and 0.7 for shrubs. However low mean density of 2.4 individual trees per 100 m2 and 5.6 individuals per 100 m2 was recorded in the mined and unmined areas respectively. Shrubs species also recorded very low density figures of 1.4 and 2.6 per 100 m2 in the mined and unmined areas, respectively. The null hypothesis that there is no significant difference of illegal small-scale mining on tree and shrub species density is rejected at the 0.05 significant level, indicating that mining significantly affected vegetation cover. It is suggested that efforts should be made to reclaim the degraded lands through reforestation.
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