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UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft (2021)

Monitoring the impact of Ethiopian refugee camps on the hosting natural environment using remote sensing indices

Kebirungi, Shivan

Titre : Monitoring the impact of Ethiopian refugee camps on the hosting natural environment using remote sensing indices

Auteur : Kebirungi, Shivan

Université de soutenance : UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2021

Résumé
People are continuously being displaced world over due to ongoing war, political conflict or persecution, causing them to flee into neighbouring countries for safety and protection. The entry of refugees into new environments causes them to exploit the existing natural resources for food, shelter, and water, among other necessities. It is therefore important to monitor the impact of refugee camps on the hosting natural environment, in order to inform counter measures to protect the environment. Fewer studies exist in the use of freely available remote sensing data with significant temporal coverage to monitor refugee impact on the natural environment. The use of indices with satellite imagery from 1984, has been explored in eight Ethiopian refugee camps from both wet and dry climatic contexts to monitor their impact on the natural environment (land cover, vegetation, and surface water areas). Temporal analyses were conducted to understand land cover changes using the 2-band Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI2) and the Normalised Difference Water Index (NDWI). Results revealed refugee impact in one camp which was heavily vegetated, where sparse vegetation within the camp area increased in the first few years after the camp was established, due to human influence. Additionally, rivers in two camps displayed declining surface water area trends over time. However, detailed hydrological assessments are required to provide more insight on the actual causes and extents of the declining trends observed. Areas with potential land cover changes that could be due to human influence, were also located around seven refugee camp areas pending field verification. The results in other camps were influenced by the prevailing climatic conditions, that any apparent human influence on the environment could not be detected. The methodology used, which was sensitive to the thresholds applied to the indices for land cover classification, was found ineffective in monitoring refugee impact on the hosting natural environment with medium spatial resolution imagery. Research into quick and easy techniques to automatically generate land cover thresholds in the application of indices is suggested.

Sujets  : Ethiopia refugee camps remote sensing environmental impact assessment hydrological assessment land cover

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Page publiée le 22 décembre 2021