Resources And Tools


Vegetation Monitoring in Refugee-Hosting Areas in South Sudan

Posted by: SAFE Administrator

Modified date: 02/26/2018

Vegetation Monitoring in Refugee-Hosting Areas in South Sudan


Relevant sector: Environment

Resource type: Document

Resource use: Review & Evaluation

Language of the document: English


Reik Leiterer, Urs Bloesch, Henrik Wulf, et al.




This article was published in the Applied Geography Journal, Issue 93 (2-18), pages 1-15. ABSTRACT: Mass population displacements put additional stress on the ecosystems and often lead to conflicts with the host communities, especially in the case of large refugee or Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps. Therefore, there is need for the assessment of environmental impacts and, based on this, the sustainable management of natural resources between host and refugee communities. We propose a method based on high (Landsat 5,7 and 8) and very high (WorldView-2) resolution Earth Observation data to establish forest inventories combining the analysis of remote sensing satellite data along with ground-based observations in South Sudan. The resulting forest inventory mapping comprises map products on vegetation cover, tree species, and vegetation changes. We distinguished between the vegetation types grassland, shrub/tree savanna, savanna woodland, and woodland. For savanna woodland and woodland, we furthermore applied a tree species classification, differentiating between Red acacia, Desert date tree, Silak, and Doum palm. The tree species classification yielded in mean accuracies of about 61.0% for both the Landsat and WorldView based classifications, with the best results achieved for Desert palm tree and red acacia with average accuracies of 88% and 53%, respectively. The product about vegetation changes indicates a decrease of vegetation up to 50% within and in the surroundings of the refugee camps/settlement. The resulting maps can serve to estimate accessible wood resources and to identify potential harvest areas. In addition, they can support the definition of a sustainable use of wood for construction and cooking purposes for the refugee and host communities based on a community forest management.

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