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Vegetation impoverishment despite greening: a case study from central Senegal

Journal of Arid Environments

By:
,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.10.020

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Abstract

Recent remote sensing studies have documented a greening trend in the semi-arid Sahel and Sudan zones of West Africa since the early 1980s, which challenges the mainstream paradigm of irreversible land degradation in this region. What the greening trend means on the ground, however, has not yet been explored. This research focuses on a region in central Senegal to examine changes in woody vegetation abundance and composition in selected sites by means of a botanical inventory of woody vegetation species, repeat photography, and perceptions of local land users. Despite the greening, an impoverishment of the woody vegetation cover was observed in the studied sites, indicated by an overall reduction in woody species richness, a loss of large trees, an increasing dominance of shrubs, and a shift towards more arid-tolerant, Sahelian species since 1983. Thus, interpretation of the satellite-derived greening trend as an improvement or recovery is not always justified. The case of central Senegal represents only one of several possible pathways of greening throughout the region, all of which result in similar satellite-derived greening signals.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Vegetation impoverishment despite greening: a case study from central Senegal
Series title:
Journal of Arid Environments
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.10.020
Volume
90
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s):
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description:
12 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
55
Last page:
66
Country:
Senegal