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Drivers and Threats Affecting Mangrove Forest Dynamics in Ghana and The Gambia

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Mangroves are one of the most important vegetation types in coastal areas. They provide numerous ecosystem services, including wood, edible products (fish, oyster, etc.), coastal area stabilization, and many more. However, despite such immense contributions, mangrove forests are being converted into other land uses that seem more attractive economically in Ghana and The Gambia. In other cases,the vegetation is degraded due to the increased extraction and pollution from waste dumping. This report examines the main drivers and pressures that affect the spatial dynamics of this vital resource.Propositions on how to respond to or mitigate these pressures are also provided.This study used the DPSIR (Drivers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Responses) analytical framework and situation modeling proposed by USAID. Four critical drivers and threats were identified: population dynamics, economic activities, natural factors, and sporadic seasonal drivers. For each of these drivers, the main threats they exert on the mangroves are discussed using the community perspectives as the basis. Response options such as policy, practices, governance, and behavioral responses were identified. Practical pathways to implement these responses include developing management plans, ‘adopt a mangrove’ approach, promoting participatory designed co-management models, devising incentive schemes (e.g., Payment for ecosystem services, etc.), and awareness creation. A sample action plan for restoring and conserving mangroves is provided for practitioners to adapt the plan to their contexts.

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