Archetypes of remnant West African forest patches, their main characteristics and geographical distribution

Wingate, Vladimir R.; Akinyemi, Felicia O.; Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe (2023). Archetypes of remnant West African forest patches, their main characteristics and geographical distribution. Applied geography, 158, p. 103024. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeog.2023.103024

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Remnant West African forest patches provide crucial ecosystem functions and services while contributing to sustaining the livelihoods of vast numbers of people. The vast majority lie outside of protected areas, although relatively few are managed as sacred forests, which limits their access and use. This lack of protection, together with a growing demand for arable land and forest resources, have accentuated their fragmentation, degradation, and deforestation. There is therefore an urgent need to generate knowledge on their social-ecological characteristics and change pressures to support their conservation. This study investigates what are i) the main biophysical and social-ecological characteristics of remnant forest patches, and ii) the potential change pressures and drivers. Within this scope, we apply archetype analysis to discern processes affecting remnant forest patches. Biophysical and socio-ecological indicators were selected from a published dataset via expert consultation, and nine archetypes were developed by applying a cluster analysis. Evaluating the results in relation to ecoregions and landscape features using high resolution imagery, we identify common underlying social-ecological change pressures and characteristics. The most common archetype (2) is characterized by being close to protected areas and having a low average annual precipitation and cluster along the northern fringe of the study area. The second most common archetype (5) is characterized by lying in highly disturbed landscapes, having undergone biomass losses, and widely distributed throughout central and western Nigeria. Patches of archetype 8 found predominantly in mangrove and swamp forests, exhibit positive above-ground biomass changes and greening trends; we propose that these vegetation changes could benefit conservation measures and carbon sequestration programs. In contrast, archetype 10 patches show both forest and biomass losses and gains and are often encompass fragmented forests in urban/arable landscapes. Identifying such common patterns of anthropogenic and ecological change provides a means of prioritizing regionalized strategies for their conservation and sustainable use.

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 > Geographies of Sustainability
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Wingate, Vladimir Ruslan, Akinyemi, Felicia Olufunmilayo, Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe


900 History > 910 Geography & travel
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Vladimir Ruslan Wingate

Date Deposited:

03 Aug 2023 10:40

Last Modified:

20 Aug 2023 02:37

Publisher DOI:





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