Full text: Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management (Volume 1)

.Moently however, population pressure and land hung 
er in the settled areas have created a kind of 
influx and spontaneous land occupation in the fron 
tiers- The availability of extensive stretches of 
hitherto uncultivated land hag induced wasteful and 
degradational land use practices which have already 
created social and ecological inbalances within the 
fragile environment of the frontiers. The social 
conflicts have partly cane frcrn inbalancesin land 
appropriation between the in-ccmers and the host 
peasantry. The latter, at the on set, viewed the 
migrant and the absentee land holder as a weleaned 
partner in socio-econonic development of the front 
iers, and was very flexible with very easy terms of 
land acquisition. The former on the other hand, had 
to repatriate the returns from his frontier enter 
prise to his origin to meet the initial financial 
liabilities incurred for the enterprise. The host 
people's antagonistic reaction to this has partly 
been articulated with incidiarism and bloody clashes. 
The deliberate crop burning has contributed to the 
serious soil and vegetation losses primarily initia 
ted by the deep ploughing and complete uprooting of 
the cover threes-a type of land management that has 
accompanied the high yielding variety system (HYV) 
and its associated agro-chemical application. 
Anticipatory Environmental Policies (OECD, 1979) have 
to be initiated in order to protect not only the 
physical environment frem further deterioration but 
also to take into consideration thè local people's 
present and future land needs. To create the basic 
harmony recjuired for sustainable kind of exploitation 
of the frapile renewable resources, the present 
status quo has to be mapped and quantitative informa 
tion of it provided. 
Happily, the holistic and synopic qualities of the 
existing and prospective satellite imageries offer 
enormous elasticity that could be stretched to meet 
the imagination of both the mapper and the map users. 
The area selected for the present study was the Mid 
Ialite Volta Basin, where the Kulpawn , the Nasia and 
Nabogo streams enter the principal stream (fig I'd 
It lies in the NorthernRegion of Ghana, 
Figure 1. Northern Ghana showing the study area - 
The Mid - White Volta Basin 
The area is typical of the harsh environment of the 
so-called 'Middle Belt of ktest African", The typical 
characteristics include erratic rainfall and mediocre 
upland soils which have been regarded as strona limi 
tations to successful agriculture; endemicity of 
both animal and human diseases like trypaunosemiasis 
onchoerciasis,, bilhazia, which have serious debilita 
ting effect on the resident population- Historical 
as well as cultural factors have also contributed to 
the relatively very low population and the general 
absence of economic infrastructure (Pullan, 1962, 
JMoraan and Ruah, 1969; Mason, 1969; Gleave and White, 
1969; Church, 1974). 
In the study area scientific investiaations into 
potentials of the soils (Obeng,'1975, Adu, 1963) 
are seme of the environmental appraisals which have 
supplied information about the aaricultural possibi 
lities and problems of the region. Recently, 
scientific investiaations have been conducted into 
the onchocerciasis disease. A follow-uo of long 
term systematic control programme which was launched 
in 1974-5 in the Volta Basin (OCP 1973, 1984) has 
resulted in the effective countrol of transmission 
of the oncho disease. The region has conseauently 
heen opened up for re-occupation. The Kulpawn 
Sissili, Nasia and Nabogo sub-basins, which before 
the control programme were hyper-endemic (OCP, 1973) 
have,due to the disease control operations attracted 
large scale capital intensive aariculture into the 
alluvial plains and associated vallevs. 
As part of the oriainal OCP plan to rehabilitate 
the resident population, the FAO and UNSO (1985) are 
plannina to carrv out small scale intearated ago- 
forestrv and aquacultural projects in the area. 
The situation renuires a status auo maopina that 
describes the distribution pattern of occupied areas, 
water resources, woodlands, places of range poten 
tials, population density regions, etc. The present 
study has used the details available within the limits 
of the spatial resolution of US landsat 2 imaaery 
and available collateral information to provide the 
back ground data recruired for purposes including 
that of a closer viewing of the area and its land- 
based socio-economic evolution. 
A review was made of the available landsat scenes 
coverina the northern savannahs of Ghana. From 1973 
to date only 1975 was found suitable for the study. 
That imagery was fully cloud free and it presented 
maximum ground view of the end of rain and iust-about 
the harvest time agricultural landscape. The cover 
vegetation was not yet completely dry. The contrast 
between cultivated fields and the native seaetation 
was adeauate in terms of colour, tone and sharpness 
of the boundaries of the agricultural -Fields. 
Three multisnectral bands (MSS) were selected for 
the green band, which is 4, the red, band 5 and the 
near infra-red band 7. The green band individually 
expressed the cultural features such as settlement 
and the principal roads quite clearlv. Veaetation 
appeared liaht and the water bodies also could be 
distinguished. The red band showed the healthy 
veaetation in dark tones, and the clear, sediment- 
free water bodies appeared rather dark. The near 
infrared band showed healthy treed veaetation of the 
valleys and the stream banks verv briahtlv thereby 
renderinaauite well the contrast between the oreen 
gallery forest alona the stream banks and neighbour 
hood herbaceous veaetation. 
The colour cormoositing was prepared by the Earth 
Satellite Corporation of Washinoton. The final 
product that was interpreted, was a bromj.de print at 
an enlaraed scale of 250,000. Althouah the dominant 
colour reaistration of the ground features was false, 
in that, the real oreen healthy veaetation was falsely 
in briaht red, sane features appeared in near natural 
colour, for example,the stream water of the rivers 
and lakes were in bright blue to deep dark blue; but 
the swamos appeared in greenish blue and blueish 
green; paved and the metalled surfaces of larae 
settlements were blueish. The principal roads 
however appeared, yiainlv yellowish white- or reddish 
in places where there were avenue tress-

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