Environmental change in time series – An interdisciplinary study in the Sahel of Mali and Senegal

Brandt, M. and Romankiewicz, C. and Spiekermann, R. and Samimi, C. (2014) Environmental change in time series – An interdisciplinary study in the Sahel of Mali and Senegal. Journal of Arid Environments, 105. pp. 52-63.

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Climatic changes and human activities have caused major environmental change in the Sahel. Remote sensing studies detect various vegetation trends; however, explanations are rarely studied in detail. We present a methodology using time series, high-resolution imagery and fieldwork to validate trend analyses for two regions in the Sahel of Mali and Senegal. Both study areas show significant greening trends from 1982 to 2010. Reasons can be very site-specific, but several factors are valid for both research areas: (1) farmer-managed agro-forestry, (2) planting programs and protection laws, (3) widespread dispersion of robust species, which replace the former diverse woody vegetation and simulate a greening which conceals a shift in biodiversity and (4) an increase of annual rainfall. However, the situation is still far from the pre-drought conditions, which are reconstructed by Corona imagery (1965) and interviews with the local population. Rather a transformation is observed: a decrease in natural vegetation, tree density and diversity. Reasons are climatic and anthropogenic: (1) drought events, less rain and higher temperatures, (2) increased demand for cropping areas and wood, especially in times of droughts. Our example validates that climatic factors are important drivers of change, but much of today's environment and vegetation composition is controlled by humans.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Corona; Degradation; Dogon; Ferlo; Greening; LTDR; RapidEye
Author Affiliation: University of Bayreuth, Institute of Geography, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
Subjects: Environmental Science
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Daneti Raju
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2014 10:31
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2014 10:31
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2014.02.019
URI: http://eprints.icrisat.ac.in/id/eprint/12718

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