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Exposures to multiple biophysical stressors and response capacities of riparian communities in Ghana

  • Dacosta AboagyeEmail author
  • Samuel Adu-Prah
  • Ebenezer Owusu-Sekyere


This article assesses multiple biophysical stressors in riparian communities along River Offin basin in Ghana. The extent of land cover change and surface water contamination; the relative contributions of anthropogenic activities to pollution of the River; gendered determinants of exposure and response capacities were assessed. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, not only does the results show widespread forest cover change, the concentration of contaminants in the water also exceeded acceptable standards. Further, poor sanitation stood out as another critical challenge. For 64% of households, open defecation was the only choice while 62% disposed solid waste indiscriminately within the River basin. Insightfully, the degree of exposure to these multiple biophysical stressors and response capacity were gendered. Based on the empirical evidence, the article argues that building the resilience of riparian communities demands a multi-faceted approach that goes beyond proper land use planning to include other issues like vulnerability, social exclusion and power relations.


Peri-urban Ghana Resilience River Offin basin Social vulnerability Water quality 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Rural DevelopmentKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana
  2. 2.Department of Geography and GeologySam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Development StudiesUniversity for Development StudiesWaGhana

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