In West Africa, where the majority of the population relies on natural resources and rain-fed agriculture, regionally adapted agricultural land-use planning is increasingly important to cope with growing demand for land-use products and intensifying climate variability. As an approach to identify effective future land-use strategies, this study applied spatially explicit modeling that addresses the spatial connectivity between the provision of ecosystem services and agricultural land-use systems. Considering that the status of ecosystem services varies with the perception of stakeholders, local knowledge, and characteristics of a case study area, two adjoining districts in northern Ghana were integrated into an assessment process of land-use strategies. Based on agricultural land-management options that were identified together with the local stakeholders, 75 future land-use strategies as combinations of multiple agricultural practices were elaborated. Potential impacts of the developed land-use strategies on ecosystem services and land-use patterns were assessed in a modeling platform that combines Geographic Information System (GIS) and Cellular Automaton (CA) modules. Modeled results were used to identify best land-use strategies that could deliver multiple ecosystem services most effectively. Then, local perception was applied to determine the feasibility of the best land-use strategies in practice. The results presented the different extent of trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services delivered by future land-use strategies and their different feasibility depending on the district. Apart from the fact that findings were context-specific and scale-dependent, this study revealed that the integration of different local characteristics and local perceptions to spatially explicit ecosystem service assessment is beneficial for determining locally tailored recommendations for future agricultural land-use planning.
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