A model for multi-functional forest-agriculture landscapes in Africa – embedding ECOLIMITS in the Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme
In Ghana, cocoa-forests support over 12 million people, but cocoa expansion is a major cause of deforestation, carbon emissions and biodiversity loss. These changes threaten the livelihoods on which these people depend, and the status quo is now regarded as unsustainable. The Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP) has been developed to transform forest-agriculture landscapes by acknowledging and managing the multiple functions they perform. GCFRP aims to improve rural livelihoods and reduce poverty, reduce carbon emissions from deforestation, protect a wide range of ecosystem services and biodiversity, and improve resilience of these landscapes to environmental change. Inevitably, GCFRP has knowledge gaps, which our ESPA project ECOLIMITS is ideally positioned to fill. ECOLIMITS focuses on many of the key components of GCFRP, and our study landscape around Kakum National Park overlaps with one of the key landscapes in which GCFRP will soon be rolled out. The aim of our project is to embed ECOLIMITS findings and results within GCFRP, so our science can help shape the programme as it develops. This is a potentially powerful model with relevance elsewhere in Africa, so we also plan to engage with our partners from Ethiopia to explore how a similar approach might benefit coffee-forest landscapes there. It could also be of high relevance for the coffee and tea sectors in Kenya.