Location and Size
Gushiegu/Karaga District is located in the northeastern corridor of Northern Region. The district was carved out of the then Eastern Dagomba District Council in 1988. It is bordered by four other districts in the region, namely; Savelugu/Nanton to the west, Saboba/Chereponi to the east, East and West Mamprusi to the north, and Yendi to the South.
The total land area of the district is 5,796 km2, about one-twelfth or 8.3% of the region’s total land area of 70,384 km2. It has a population density of 22 persons/km2. It is the fourth largest district in the Northern Region. The district has 469 communities, with the capital located in Gushegu. The capital is about 114 km from the Northern Regional capital, Tamale. 5,796 square kilometres
Topology and Drainage
The district lies entirely within the Volta basin dominated by coarse lateritic upland soils and soft clay soils in the valley bottoms. The land is strewn with several strams, most of which are tributaries of major rivers in the northern region. The major river running through the district is the Nasia, which flows between Nambrugu and Bagli. The head waters of the Daka River are found in the district. Only the Nasia River is perennial. All the others dry up completely during the long dry season but flood the immediate surrounding land during the rainy season. The district relief is fairly undulating with height ranging from about 140 metres at the valley bottoms to about 180 metres in the plateau surface.
Climate and Vegetation
The climate reflects the typical tropical continental climate experienced in northern Ghana The vegetation is a typical guinea savannah type, characterized by tall grasses interspersed with drought resistant trees such as the shea and dawadawa.
Geology & Soil
The district lies entirely within the Voltarian sandstone basin dominated by sandstones, shales, siltstones and minor limestones. The northern tip of the district is underlain by lower Voltarian which consist of rocks, dominated by shales and sandstones. The soils are mainly savannah ochrosols, groundwater laterites formed over granite and Voltaian shales.
Small areas of savannah ochrosols with some lithosols and brunosols are also very low. The laterites are similar in acidity and nutrient level to the ochrosols, but are poorer in physical properties, with substantial amounts of concretionary gravel layers near the top horizons and more suited for road and other constructional works than supporting plant root systems.
Despite gentle slopes, the soils are highly vulnerable to sheet erosion, and in some areas, gully erosion also occurs. This condition occurs primarily because of the annual burning of the natural vegetation, leaving the soil exposed to the normally high intensity rains (up to 200mm per hour) at the beginning of the rainy season. The continuous erosion over many years has removed most or all of the topsoil and depleted or destroyed its organic matter content. Such a situation does not allow the soil fauna to thrive and keep the topsoil layers open and aerated for healthy plant roots to develop. It results in serious compaction, with considerable reduction in rainfall infiltration rate.
These soils, even when affected by erosion and reduced fertility, have some potential for agriculture if their available nutrients and water are managed sensibly, including appropriate organic matter supplementation. Measures to restore a better soil water infiltration rate, will depend on the extent to which it is possible to manage the recurring annual bush fires and extend the rainfall surface retention time to facilitate increase in the amount that gets to the plant rooting zones, to the level of the soil water holding capacity.
Date Created : 11/30/2017 3:01:48 AM