1 Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 University of Ouagadougou3 Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet4 University of Ouagadougou
Many studies have shown a ‘greening of the Sahel’ on the basis of analysis of time series of satellite images and this has shown to be, at least partly, explained by changes in rainfall. In northern Burkina Faso, an area stands out as anomalous in such analysis, since it is characterized by a distinct spatial pattern and strongly dominated by negative trends in Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The aim of the paper is to explain this distinct pattern. When studied over the period 2000–2012, using NDVI data from the MODIS sensor the spatial pattern of NDVI trends indicates that non-climatic factors are involved. By relating NDVI trends to landscape elements and land use change we demonstrate that NDVI trends in the north-western parts of the study area are mostly related to landscape elements, while this is not the case in the south-eastern parts, where rapidly changing land use, including. expansion of irrigation, plays a major role. It is inferred that a process of increased redistribution of fine soil material, water and vegetation from plateaus and slopes to valleys, possibly related to higher grazing pressure, may provide an explanation of the observed pattern of NDVI trends. Further work will focus on testing this hypothesis.
Geografisk Tidsskrift/danish Journal of Geography, 2014, Vol 114, Issue 1, p. 17-24