Mapping trends in woody cover throughout Namibian savanna with MODIS seasonal phenological metrics and field inventory d...Published: 14 February 2019 by Copernicus GmbH in Biogeosciences Discussions
Woody vegetation is an integral component of savannas. Here, two main change processes alter woody vegetation, namely shrub encroachment and deforestation. Both impact a range of ecosystem services and functions across scales. Accurate estimates of change, including spatial extent, rate and drivers are lacking. This is primarily due to savanna vegetation comprising woody and herbaceous vegetation, each of which exhibit divergent phenological characteristics, and vary importantly in their response to climatic and environmental factors. This study uses phenological metrics derived from the MODIS MOD13Q1 NDVI time-series to model woody cover as a function of field measurements, and to map trends across Namibia. These metrics enhance the contrasting phenological characteristics of woody and herbaceous vegetation, and standardizes their annual response to climatic and environmental factors by integrating short term variation. Trends in woody cover are excellent indicators of shrub encroachment and deforestation. Trend significance was computed using the Mann-Kendall test, while change statistics, including the rate and spatial extent of change were derived using the Theil-Sen slope. Change was evaluated in relation to drivers including land-use, population, biomes and precipitation. An overall decrease in woody cover was identified, with the most pronounced decreases found in urban and densely populated areas. Decreases in woody cover were not homogenously distributed; losses predominated in tropical desert and dry forests, but gains were found across shrub lands.
Estimating aboveground woody biomass change in Kalahari woodland: combining field, radar, and optical data setsPublished: 16 October 2017 by Informa UK Limited in International Journal of Remote Sensing
Mapping Decadal Land Cover Changes in the Woodlands of North Eastern Namibia from 1975 to 2014 Using the Landsat Satelli...Published: 20 August 2016 by MDPI in Remote Sensing
Woodlands and savannahs provide essential ecosystem functions and services to communities. On the African continent, they are widely utilized and converted to subsistence and intensive agriculture or urbanized. This study investigates changes in land cover over four administrative regions of North Eastern Namibia within the Kalahari woodland savannah biome, covering a total of 107,994 km2. Land cover is mapped using multi-sensor Landsat imagery at decadal intervals from 1975 to 2014, with a post-classification change detection method. The dominant change observed was a reduction in the area of woodland savannah due to the expansion of agriculture, primarily in the form of small-scale cereal and pastoral production. More specifically, woodland savannah area decreased from 90% of the study area in 1975 to 83% in 2004, and then increased to 86% in 2014, while agricultural land increased from 6% to 12% between 1975 and 2014. We assess land cover changes in relation to towns, villages, rivers and roads and find most changes occurred in proximity to these. In addition, we find that most land cover changes occur within land designated as communally held, followed by state protected land. With widespread changes occurring across the African continent, this study provides important data for understanding drivers of change in the region and their impacts on the distribution of woodland savannahs.
Shorebirds have declined severely across the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. Many species rely on intertidal habitats for foraging, yet the distribution and conservation status of these habitats across Australia remain poorly understood. Here, we utilised freely available satellite imagery to produce the first map of intertidal habitats across Australia. We estimated a minimum intertidal area of 9856 km2, with Queensland and Western Australia supporting the largest areas. Thirty-nine percent of intertidal habitats were protected in Australia, with some primarily within marine protected areas (e.g. Queensland) and others within terrestrial protected areas (e.g. Victoria). Three percent of all intertidal habitats were protected by both marine and terrestrial protected areas. To achieve conservation targets, protected area boundaries must align more accurately with intertidal habitats. Shorebirds use intertidal areas to forage and supratidal areas to roost, so a coordinated management approach is required to account for movement of birds between terrestrial and marine habitats. Ultimately, shorebird declines are occurring despite high levels of habitat protection in Australia. There is a need for a concerted effort both nationally and internationally to map and understand how intertidal habitats are changing, and how habitat conservation can be implemented more effectively.
Vladimir Wingate participated at conference The 5th World Sustainability Forum.