Main Article Content
A study was carried out to assess local knowledge about soil suitability in four villages in the Ejisu- Juabeng District in the Ashanti region of Ghana. This study described two approaches in soil mapping using geopedologic approach promoted by Zinck (1988) and the farmer approach using their spatial knowledge and experience. Both maps were assessed for their suitability for cocoa, oil palm and citrus. First, farmers created their soil map and then assessed the soil suitability for a selected number of tree crops which are important for them economically. Secondly, on the other side which is the side of the expert, the approach for soil suitability classification was performed using the Automated Land Evaluation System (ALES) which uses the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) framework for land evaluation that defines suitability by employing matching (comparison) between land quality/land characteristics and land use requirement. The expert and farmer suitability maps were then compared using spatial analysis within the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environment to determine levels of spatial correlation and the level of agreement among the maps. Farmers’ suitability maps for cocoa accounted for 81% of the study area, citrus and oil palm accounted for 71% and 26% respectively. In the expert suitability map 66% of the study area was suitable for cocoa, citrus and oil palm accounted for 41%and 39% respectively. The overall accuracy from the map comparison was 67% for cocoa, 43% for citrus and 14% for oil palm. The results of spatial correlation between expert and local soil suitability map units reflect differences and similarities in the ways both systems classify soils. Critical is the evaluation of topsoil characteristics, as the understanding and monitoring of topsoil dynamics are fundamental for land use decision-making by farmers. Merging technical and local thinking is indispensable to formulate sustainable land management schemes for agricultural production
De la Rosa D, Mayol F, Diaz-Pereira E, Fernandez M, de la Rosa D. A land evaluation decision support system (Micro LEIS DSS) for agricultural soil protection: With special reference to the Mediterranean region. Environmental Modelling & Software. 2004;19(10):929-942.
Lagacherie P, Cazemier DR, Martin-Clouaire R, Wassenaar T. A spatial approach using imprecise soil data for modelling crop yields over vast areas. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 2000;81(1):5-16.
Dittoh S. Effective aid for small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Southern civil society perspectives. Under the Canadian food security policy group. University of Development Studies, Temale, Ghana; 2006.
Barrera-Bassols N, Zinck JA, Van Ranst E. Local soil classification and comparison of indigenous and technical soil maps in a Mesoamerican community using spatial analysis. Geoderma. 2006;135:140-162.
Alves AGC. Local knowledge and soil use: An ethnopedological approach. Interciencia. 2005;30(9):524.
Barrera-Bassols N, Zinck JA. Ethnopedology in a worldwide perspective: An annotated bibliography. ITC Publication. ITC, Enschede. 2000;77:636.
FAO. Guidelines: Land evaluation for rainfed agriculture. FAO Soil Bulletin. Rome. 1983;52.
FAO. A framework for land evaluation. Soil Bulletin 32, FAO, Rome. 1976;116.
Rossiter DG. Automated Land Evaluation System: ALES version 4.65 user's manual. SCAS teaching series; T93-2 revision 6. Cornell University, Department of Soil, Crop & Atmospheric Sciences, Ithaca. 1997;279.
Rossiter DG. A theoretical framework for land evaluation. Geoderma. 1996;72(3-4): 165-190.
Zinck JA. Physiography and soils: Soil survey courses subject matter K6, ITC, Enschede; 1989.