UZH-Logo

Desertification in the Sahel: Towards better accounting for ecosystem dynamics in the interpretation of remote sensing images


Hein, L; de Ridder, N; Hiernaux, P; Leemans, R; de Wit, A; Schaepman, M E (2011). Desertification in the Sahel: Towards better accounting for ecosystem dynamics in the interpretation of remote sensing images. Journal of Arid Environments, 75(11):1164-1172.

Abstract

To date, the interpretation of remote sensing images has not revealed wide-spread degradation of the vegetation in the Sahel. However, the interpretation of spectral information depends on a range of assumptions regarding the dynamics of the Sahelian vegetation as a function of rainfall variability and human management. Recent papers have presented diverging views on the vegetation dynamics of the Sahel and how these can be analysed with remote sensing images. We present a further analysis of the vegetation dynamics of semi-arid rangelands, in particular the Sahel, and the subsequent implications for the interpretation of remote sensing images. Specifically, the ecological processes driving the response of the Sahelian vegetation to rainfall variation are re-examined, and a regression analysis of NPP versus rainfall data is carried out. It is shown that the relation between the interannual variation in NPP and rainfall in the Sahel is non-linear and that this relation differs between sites with different average annual rainfall. It has been common practise in remote sensing studies for the Sahel to aggregate data from various Sahelian sites in order to obtain an average relation between rainfall, NPP and Rain Use Efficiency, and to assume these relations to be linear. This paper shows that this approach may lead to a bias in the interpretation of remote sensing images and that further work is required to clarify if wide-spread ecosystem degradation has occurred in the Sahel.

To date, the interpretation of remote sensing images has not revealed wide-spread degradation of the vegetation in the Sahel. However, the interpretation of spectral information depends on a range of assumptions regarding the dynamics of the Sahelian vegetation as a function of rainfall variability and human management. Recent papers have presented diverging views on the vegetation dynamics of the Sahel and how these can be analysed with remote sensing images. We present a further analysis of the vegetation dynamics of semi-arid rangelands, in particular the Sahel, and the subsequent implications for the interpretation of remote sensing images. Specifically, the ecological processes driving the response of the Sahelian vegetation to rainfall variation are re-examined, and a regression analysis of NPP versus rainfall data is carried out. It is shown that the relation between the interannual variation in NPP and rainfall in the Sahel is non-linear and that this relation differs between sites with different average annual rainfall. It has been common practise in remote sensing studies for the Sahel to aggregate data from various Sahelian sites in order to obtain an average relation between rainfall, NPP and Rain Use Efficiency, and to assume these relations to be linear. This paper shows that this approach may lead to a bias in the interpretation of remote sensing images and that further work is required to clarify if wide-spread ecosystem degradation has occurred in the Sahel.

Citations

31 citations in Web of Science®
33 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

1 download since deposited on 03 Feb 2012
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:November 2011
Deposited On:03 Feb 2012 13:08
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:33
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:01401963
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2011.05.002
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-58060

Download

[img]
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 303kB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations