Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Tree Species Diversity and Socio-economic Perspectives of the Urban (Food) Forest of Accra, Ghana

Version 1 : Received: 30 June 2018 / Approved: 3 July 2018 / Online: 3 July 2018 (12:10:53 CEST)

How to cite: Nero, B.; Kwapong, N.A.; Jatta, R.; Fatunbi, O. Tree Species Diversity and Socio-economic Perspectives of the Urban (Food) Forest of Accra, Ghana. Preprints 2018, 2018070042 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201807.0042.v1). Nero, B.; Kwapong, N.A.; Jatta, R.; Fatunbi, O. Tree Species Diversity and Socio-economic Perspectives of the Urban (Food) Forest of Accra, Ghana. Preprints 2018, 2018070042 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201807.0042.v1).

Abstract

In Africa, 80% of households in urban areas are food insecure and is coupled with a dramatically changing urban food culture towards increased consumption of sugary and fatty foods. Consequently, incidences of obesity and undernourishment in many African cities are becoming escalating. Urban and peri-urban forestry emerges as a complementary measure to contribute towards elimination of urban hunger and improved nutritional security. However, there is scanty knowledge about the composition, diversity and socioeconomic contributions of urban food trees in African cities and this hinders policy discussions integrating urban forestry into the food security discourse. This paper examines the diversity and composition of the urban forest and food trees of Accra and sheds light on perceptions of urbanites regarding food tree cultivation and availability in the city. Using a mixed methods approach, about 105 respondents in six neighbourhoods of Accra were interviewed while over 200 100-m2 plots were surveyed across five land use types. Twenty-two out of the 70 woody species in Accra are edible. The food tree abundance in the city is about half of the total number of trees enumerated. The species richness and abundance of the edible trees and all trees in the city were significantly different among land use types (p<0.0001) and neighbourhood types (p<0.0001). The diversity of food bearing tree species was much higher in the poorer neighbourhoods than in the wealthier neighbourhoods. Respondents in wealthier neighbourhoods indicated that tree and fruit tree cover of the city was generally low and showed greater interests in cultivating fruit trees and expanding urban forest cover than poorer neighbourhoods. These findings demonstrate the need for urban food policy reforms that integrate urban grown tree foods in the urban food system/culture.

Subject Areas

species, edible, food bearing, diversity, neighborhoods, urban forest

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