Location and Size
The Nabdam District Assembly was established by the Local Government (Nabdam District Assembly) (Establishment) Instrument, 2012 (L.I. 2105). It is one of the newly created districts (carved out from the then Talensi-Nabdam District) in 2012. It has Nangodi as its District capital.
The District is located in the Upper East Region of Ghana. It lies between latitudes 100 47ꞌ and 100 57ꞌ north of the Equator; and longitudes 00 31ꞌ and 10 15ꞌ west of the Greenwich Meridian. It is bordered to the North, South and East by the Bongo, Talensi and Bawku West Districts and to the West by Bolgatanga Municipality. The District occupies a land area of 353 km2.
Topography and Drainage
The topography of the District is dominated by relatively undulating lowlands with gentle slopes ranging from 1% to 5% gradient with some isolated rock out crops and some uplands slopes at the Nangodi areas. It falls within the Birimian, Tarkwaian and Voltaria rocks of Ghana. There is evidence of the presence of minerals especially gold. The District is drained mainly by the Red and White Volta and their tributaries.
The District is drained mainly by the Red and White Volta and their tributaries. The nature of the landscape is a contributory factor to the small size of land holding of many people and has promoted the peasant agriculture in the district. These physical characteristics have given rise to dry season farming activities along some parts of the Volta Basin in the district. This has the tendency of silting the river course and causing flooding. Similarly, there exists small scale artisanal mining activities in the district; thus causing environmental degradation.
Climate and Vegetation
The climate is classified as tropical, and has two distinct seasons, a wet rainy season, which is erratic, and runs from May to October, and a long dry season that stretches from October to April with hardly any rains. The mean rainfall ranges between 88mm-110mm but with an annual rainfall of 950mm. The area experiences a maximum temperature of 450C in March and April and a minimum of 120C in December.
The nature of the rainfall promotes severe erosion in the area as many of the farmlands are located on hill slopes; the implication is that the soil nutrients continue to decline and the output of the farm diminish as the years go by.
The vegetation is guinea savannah woodland consisting of short widely spread deciduous trees and a ground flora of grass, which get burnt by fire or the scorching sun during the long dry season. This situation affects the amount of rainfall in the area and hence the quantity of water under ground and the yield of water from many water points.
The extreme temperatures and prolong dry season facilitate bush burning, affect rejuvenation processes and promotes land degradation. As people try to cope during the long dry season, they attempt alternative livelihood means by depending on the environment and adopting various unsustainable practices; the common practices being hunting with fire, firewood harvesting and charcoal production among others.
As a typical agrarian economy, the long dry season affect the food security of many families resulting in most people migrating to cater for the food gap; which has the tendency of withdrawing the active labour from the communities and creating social deviants in other cases.
The Natural Environment
The population which is predominantly rural depends on the forest for their livelihood. They depend on it for both their Domestic and Commercial needs. The small timber poles and rafters from the forest are used for building homes and sources of traditional energy for cooking. Also, forest products such as fuel wood and charcoal are an important source of income for many people. With the increases in the cost of LPG and electricity tariffs, the Biomass fuel industry has boomed and the export of firewood and charcoal to urban towns has become very lucrative.
The implication of this dependency has been visible environmental problems such as deforestation, silting of water bodies, landscape destruction (deep trenches and pits)\massive soil erosions, depleting soil fertility, and bush fires. The major causes of the bush fires are poor agriculture practices, charcoal production, careless smoking, and activities of herdsmen, hunting, honey tapping and surface mining.
To arrest the degrading trend of the natural environment, efforts are required to protect the natural forest and grow more trees, ensure good farming practices, and control the activities of sand and gravel winners.
Climate Change and Dry Land Issues
The Nabdam District is located within one of Ghana’s most deprived environments. The environment of the District is fragile and prone to destruction by virtue of its resource endowment, geological formation and unfavourable climatic situations. It is generally considered as degraded and at the threat of further degradation following a pathogenesis in most parts ofthe District.
The District is abounding with natural resources, such as forest, gold, arable land, mountains, hills, economic trees and wildlife. Human effort by the crude methods of the utilization of these resources has resulted in environmental problems that are detrimental to the survival of the ecosystem and are catalyst to climate change. Hence the choices of use and the methodologies applied to land use affect the environment, create climate change and further hinder development.