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Detecting encroachment within wetlands using UAV techniques: the case of Sakumo Ramsar Site, Ghana.

Afua Agbeti, Joy; Mantey, Saviour; Zaman, Quazi Mahtab


Joy Afua Agbeti

Saviour Mantey


Wetlands have provided many benefits to mankind all over the world. Wetlands are a rich source of food and water security hence a crucial source of subsistence for communities. Apart from serving humanity, wetlands provide unique habitats for various types of fauna and flora. Consequently, wetlands have gained importance worldwide for conservation purposes and are designated as Ramsar Sites. However, urbanisation and subsequent population explosion has left some of our urban wetlands in deplorable and degraded conditions. The Sakumo Wetland and its catchment is one of such areas which has not been spared. This paper sought to access the level of encroachment within the Sakumo Ramsar Site, in the Accra and Tema Metropolis (Ghana) by using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A descriptive research design strategy was adopted supported by a mixed method approach. UAV survey was conducted to obtain orthophotos from a carefully and systematically planned aerial survey of the Ramsar Site. The UAV survey was supplemented with qualitative field data obtained from participants who live in the Sakumo community, which is the catchment of the Sakumo Wetlands. The study revealed a loss of substantial area of the wetland to encroachment. The settlement areas have compromised the natural flood control potential of the wetland as well as portions of the 100 m buffer zone have been encroached upon. The effect is the loss of about 38.3% of the wetland to encroachment. The encroachment has also resulted in loss of livelihood for fishermen and farmers within the community creating a rippling effect on sustenance of families. This paper recommends the collaboration of stakeholders and relevant city authorities to restore the degraded wetlands and adopt strategies to secure the buffer zone around the lagoon. The custodians of the Sakumo lagoon, that is the Chiefs and Traditional Priest or 'Wulomo', should be actively engaged in sustainable Community Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) to ensure that, the Sakumo lagoon which is believed to be a goddess with a strong religious and cultural presence in the community, continues to enjoy the historical, traditional authority she is accorded within the community while yielding benefits to the inhabitants both far and near.


AGBETI, J.A., MANTEY, S. and ZAMAN, Q.Z. 2022. Detecting encroachment within wetlands using UAV techniques: the case of Sakumo Ramsar Site, Ghana. Journal of environment and earth science [online], 12(2), pages 23-31. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 28, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2022
Publication Date Feb 28, 2022
Deposit Date Mar 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 7, 2022
Journal Journal of Environment and Earth Science
Print ISSN 2224-3216
Publisher International Institute for Science, Technology and Education (IISTE)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 23-31
Keywords Anthropogenic activities; Encroachment; Sakumo Ramsar Site; UAV survey; Wulomo
Public URL


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