The role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecosystem services management: the case of four rural communities in Northern Ghana

Yaw Agyeman Boafo, Osamu Saito, Sadahisa Kato, Chiho Kamiyama, Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Miri Nakahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


This study combines qualitative and quantitative research to examine perceptions held by rural households in Northern Ghana regarding the value of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in the management of ecosystem services. Key informant interviews (n = 14), household questionnaire surveys (n = 195), field observations, and dissemination meetings were employed to collect data. Results suggest the regular use of different but interrelated forms of TEK, i.e. taboos and totems, customs and rituals, rules and regulations, and traditional protected areas, to manage ecosystem services through existing sociocultural mechanisms. However, household awareness of TEK did not equate with compliance. A wide discrepancy in views on TEK was observed across surveyed households. A generalized linear model (GLM) regression analysis suggests age to be the most significant determinant of TEK awareness and compliance. Compared with mature and younger adults, the elderly appear more likely to be aware of and comply with characterized TEK systems. Notwithstanding these findings, the use of traditional protected areas as a form of TEK appears to be highly valued by the majority of survey participants. Demand-led research aimed at examining TEK’s role in the face of changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions can contribute to the formulation and implementation of policy-relevant strategies. EDITED BY Leni Camacho

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-38
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystems Services and Management
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Awareness and compliance
  • ecosystem services
  • management
  • Northern Ghana
  • traditional ecological knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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