Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Geography (Community and Environmental Planning Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Jeffrey A. Gritzner

Commitee Members

David Shively, Jill M. Belsky


Ghana, human-environment relationship, Lake Bosomtwe, resilience, Socio-ecological, sustainable development


University of Montana


This study sought to investigate the social-ecological factors that hold back sustainability efforts in the Lake Bosomtwe basin in Ghana, how these factors change over time, and what determines their ability to absorb disturbances in either their ecological or social domains. A mixed methods approach was utilized, using primary, secondary, and tertiary literature; unstructured interviews with thirty-one respondents; transect walks, observations and photography. A causal-chain analysis was used to illustrate and trace out the ways in which identified factors act and interact to degrade the lake's ecosystem. The study finds that factors constraining sustainability efforts and exacerbating environmental problems in the lake basin include rapid population growth, high levels of poverty, and weak lake basin governance systems. Further aggravating the problem is irreverence for traditional resource management practices which have been a useful tool in managing resources in the past, and changes in climate variables of rainfall and temperature, thus affecting lake water levels. Systems of interventions necessary to address these problems are noted.

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