Human-induced land degradation dominance in the Nigerian Guinea savannah between 2003 – 2018

Adenle, Ademola A.; Eckert, Sandra; Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe; Adedeji, Oluwatola I.; Ellison, David (2020). Human-induced land degradation dominance in the Nigerian Guinea savannah between 2003 – 2018. Remote sensing applications : society and environment, 19, p. 100360. Elsevier 10.1016/j.rsase.2020.100360

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Land degradation poses a persistent challenge to ecosystems and sustainable livelihoods in the Nigerian Guinea Savannah (NGS). While both human activity and climate variability have been implicated as degradation drivers, the lack of research fuels dispute over the status of land degradation in the Savannah and its drivers. Detailed correction evidence on the contributions of rainfall and human activities to land degradation can, however, help identify appropriate measures to address land degradation. MODIS vegetation “greenness” and TAMSAT rainfall data were employed to achieve the following objectives: (i) provide empirical insights on the pattern of savannah vegetation dynamics; (ii) control for rainfall effects in Savannah degradation; (iii) characterize the extent, severity and geography of human-induced land degradation. The selected statistical techniques proved useful for highlighting the spatio-temporal dynamics of degradation in the NGS. Controlling for the effect of rainfall on vegetation greenness produces a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) residual that allows to estimate the human impact on land degradation. Despite no indication of a worsening rainfall regime, inter-annual variation in vegetation greenness exhibits a consistently negative, declining trend. This continuous, negative, declining trend in the NDVI residual strongly suggests ongoing biomass loss in the NGS is the result of unsustainable human activity. Observed improvement is attributable to existing land management programmes (afforestation and the planting of drought tolerant species) initiated by states in the zone. In sum, approximately 38% of the NGS land area, including protected areas such as Kainji Lake National Park, are becoming more degraded, while 14% and 48% of the remaining area shows either improvement or no real change, respectively. These results serve as a baseline information resource for tracking future land use activities, land degradation and potential pathways for achieving more sustainable land management.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Adenle, Ademola Andrew, Eckert, Sandra, Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe, Ellison, David








Evi Nina Rothenbühler

Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2020 11:43

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:39

Publisher DOI:





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