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Remote sensing of vegetation in the Sudano-Sahelian zone: A literature review from 1975 to 2014
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research . Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3926-3671
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research . Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4484-266X
2015 (English)In: Journal of Arid Environments, ISSN 0140-1963, E-ISSN 1095-922X, Vol. 124, 257-269 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Scarcity of in situ vegetation data inhibits research and natural resource management in the Sudano- Sahelian zone (SSZ). Satellite and aerial remote sensing (RS) constitute key technologies for improving the availability of vegetation data, and consequently the preconditions for scientific analysis and monitoring. The aim of this paper was to investigate how the hands-on application of RS for vegetation analysis has developed in the SSZ by reviewing the scientific literature published between 1975 and 2014. The paper assesses the usages and the users of RS by focusing on four aspects of the material (268 peer-reviewed articles), including publication details (time of publication, scientific discipline of journals and author nationality), geographic information (location of study areas and spatial scale of research), data usage (application of RS systems and procedures for accuracy assessments), and research topic (scientific objective of the research). Three key results were obtained: i) the application of RS to analyze vegetation in the SSZ has increased consistently since 1977 and it seems to become adopted by a growing number of scientific disciplines; ii) the contribution of African authors is low, potentially signalling a need for an increased transfer of knowledge and technology from developed countries; iii) RS has pri- marily been used to analyze changes in vegetation productivity and broad vegetation types, whereas its use for studying interactions between vegetation and environmental factors has been relatively low. This calls for stronger collaborative RS research that enables the mapping of additional vegetation variables of high relevance for the environmental problems facing the SSZ. Remotely sensed vegetation data are needed at spatial scales that suits the requirements of both research and natural resource management in order to further enhance the usefulness of this technology. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, UK: Academic Press, 2015. Vol. 124, 257-269 p.
Keyword [en]
Remote sensing, Vegetation, Drylands, Sudano-Sahel, Monitoring, Natural resource management
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121292DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2015.08.022ISI: 000364245200030OAI: diva2:853369
Swedish Research Council, 348-2013-6547Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SWE-2009-176Swedish Energy Agency, 35586-1

Funding agencies: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) [SWE-2009-176]; Swedish Energy Agency [35586-1]; Swedish Research Council (VR/Sida) [348-2013-6547]

Available from: 2015-09-13 Created: 2015-09-13 Last updated: 2015-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Remote Sensing of Woodland Structure and Composition in the Sudano-Sahelian zone: Application of WorldView-2 and Landsat 8
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Remote Sensing of Woodland Structure and Composition in the Sudano-Sahelian zone: Application of WorldView-2 and Landsat 8
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Woodlands constitute the subsistence base of the majority of people in the Sudano-Sahelian zone (SSZ), but low availability of in situ data on vegetation structure and composition hampers research and monitoring. This thesis explores the utility of remote sensing for mapping and analysing vegetation, primarily trees, in the SSZ. A comprehensive literature review was first conducted to describe how the application of remote sensing has developed in the SSZ between 1975 and 2014, and to identify important research gaps. Based on the gaps identified in the literature review, the capabilities of two new satellite systems (WorldView-2 and Landsat 8) for mapping woodland structure and composition were tested in an area in central Burkina Faso.

The results shows that WorldView-2 represents a useful data source for mapping individual trees: 85.4% of the reference trees were detected in the WorldView-2 data and tree crown area was estimate with an average error of 45.6%. In addition, WorldView-2 data produced high classification accuracies for five locally important tree species. The highest overall classification accuracy (82.4%) was produced using multi-temporal WorldView-2 data. Landsat 8 data proved more suitable for mapping tree canopy cover as compared to aboveground biomass in the woodland landscape. Tree canopy cover and aboveground biomass was predicted with 41% and 66% root mean square error, respectively, at pixel level.

This thesis demonstrates the potential of easily accessible data from two satellite systems for mapping important tree attributes in woodland areas, and discusses how the usefulness of remote sensing for analyzing vegetation can be further enhanced in the SSZ.

Abstract [sv]

Merparten av befolkningen i Sudano-Sahel zonen (SSZ) är beroende av naturresurser och ekosystemtjänster från woodlands (öppen torrskog) för att säkra sin försörjning. Tillgången av fältmätningar av vegetationens struktur och sammansättning är mycket låg i detta område, vilket utgör ett problem för forskning och miljöövervakning. Denna avhandling undersöker nyttan av fjärranalys för att kartlägga och analysera vegetation, främst träd, i SSZ. En omfattande litteraturöversikt genomfördes först för att undersöka hur tillämpningen av fjärranalys har utvecklats i SSZ mellan 1975 och 2014, samt att identifiera viktiga forskningsluckor. Några av de luckor som konstaterades i litteraturgenomgången låg till grund för de följande studierna där två nya satellitsystem (Worldview-2 och Landsat 8) utvärderades för deras användbarhet att kartlägga trädtäckets struktur och artsammansättning i ett woodland-område i centrala Burkina Faso.

Resultaten visar att Worldview-2 är en värdefull datakälla för kartering av enskilda träd: 85.4% av referensträden detekterades och trädkronornas storlek uppskattades med ett medelfel av 45.6%. Worldview-2-data producerade även hög klassificeringsnoggrannhet för de fem lokalt viktigaste trädslagen. Den högsta noggrannheten (82.4%) uppnåddes med multi-temporal Worldview-2-data. Landsat 8 data visade sig mer lämpade för kartering av krontäcke, jämfört med biomassa. Medelfelet för karteringen var 41% för krontäcke och 66% för biomassa, på pixelnivå.

Avhandlingen visar att lättillgängliga data från två satellitsystem är användbara för kartläggning av viktiga trädattribut i woodlands, samt diskuterar hur nyttan av fjärranalys för vegetationsanalys kan ökas ytterligare i SSZ.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 68 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 658
Remote sensing; Sudano-Sahel; woodland; agroforestry; WorldView-2; Landsat 8; tree attributes; tree canopy cover; aboveground biomass; Random Forest, Fjärranalys; Sudano-Sahel; woodland; WorldView-2; Landsat 8; trädattribut; trädtäcke; biomassa; Random Forest
National Category
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121536 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-121536 (DOI)978-91-7685-927-8 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-23, TEMCAS, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-09-23 Created: 2015-09-23 Last updated: 2015-09-29Bibliographically approved

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