Informations et ressources scientifiques
sur le développement des zones arides et semi-arides

Accueil du site → Doctorat → Belgique → Dynamique environnementale en zones sahélienne et soudanienne de l’Afrique de l’Ouest : Analyse de l’évolution et évaluation de la dégradation du couvert végétal

Université de Liège (2008)

Dynamique environnementale en zones sahélienne et soudanienne de l’Afrique de l’Ouest : Analyse de l’évolution et évaluation de la dégradation du couvert végétal

Hountondji, Yvon Carmen

Titre : Dynamique environnementale en zones sahélienne et soudanienne de l’Afrique de l’Ouest : Analyse de l’évolution et évaluation de la dégradation du couvert végétal

Auteur : Hountondji, Yvon Carmen

Université de soutenance : Université de Liège

Grade : Doctorat en sciences 2008

In order to understand the dynamics of desertification after the 1980s droughts, the trends and changes of photosynthetically active fraction of the vegetation cover of the semi-arid region of West Africa have been analyzed across three ecoclimatic entities. This study focuses on six countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina-Faso, Niger and Benin) that reflect quite well the human and environmental context of semi-arid regions. The main objective of this thesis is to check in the before-mentioned biophysical and human context, if the state of the vegetation improves because of more favourable rainfall conditions, or if, conversely, the long environmental deterioration during recent decades has a healthy dose of irreversibility for several years. The process of investigation proceeds in three stages defined by geographical scales and a geoclimatic gradient. At the regional level, we compared vegetation productivity data from 1982-1999 time series of NOAA-AVHRR NDVI data to rainfall data. We analyzed data from 315 rain gauges distributed across five countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina-Faso and Niger) with annual average isohyets ranging from 100 to 900 mm. For trends analysis, we used the ratio of the “integrated vegetation index (iNDVI) during the crop-growth period (June to October)” to the “May to October sum of rainfall (RR)”. This ratio (iNDVI/RR), a proxy of the Rain Use Efficiency, is widely used by ecologists as an indicator for detecting desertification processes. Overall, our results show a significant increase of the net primary production as a response of post-drought rainfall increase. However, the trends of iNDVI/RR ratio suggest that most of the studied stations (54%) in sahelian and sahelo-sudanese belts were stable and 31.4% showed strong to very strong negative change in iNDVI/RR ratio, while 13.3% of the stations showed a moderate decrease and only 1.3% showed a positive trend. At the country level, similar trends were recorded throughout 128 stations in Burkina Faso located between the 500 mm and 1100 mm isohyets. In fact, more than half the studied stations showed a stability of iNDVI/RR ratio. However, 39.8% of them show a negative trend from low to high, while only 2.4% of them show a slight positive trend. In addition, a comparison with more detailed local case studies confirmed these observed trends. However, the obtained results for wetter stations in the southern part of the country should be taken with precaution, as the relationship between NDVI and rainfall tends to weaken when annual rainfall is higher than 1000 mm. Overall, the negative trends highlight a gradual decline in plant productivity. These results recorded in 44.7% of the analyzed stations may reflect ongoing desertification processes in the sahelian and sahelo-sudanian zones over the past two decades. At the local level, a structural characterization of woody units in three bioclimatic regions of the sudanian zone (900 mm – 1200 mm) in the north of Benin was conducted to assess their degradation status. We recorded the structural characteristics of stands (basal area, density), species diversity as well as disturbances type and intensity. Multivariate analysis revealed a gradient of productivity between the three regions : there was a high diversity of woody stands in the south-sudanian sector, while the north-sudanian and sudano-sahelian sectors were dominated by savannas and shrub, which had low productivity. The productivity gradient is influenced by a disturbance gradient suggesting that the decline in productivity is stronger from south-sudanian to the sudano-sahelian region. In addition, the spatial component of the observable changes in vegetation cover has been mapped by remote sensing in a restricted area of the sudanian zone in northern Benin with SPOT-XS data over the period 1986-2005. Over the past two decades, 19.6% of the woody stands have completely disappeared ; 12.9% of this extinction of woody stands was due to deforestation, and 13.9 % due to degradation processes. In contrast to these trends, 21.8% of the study area were stable, while less than a third (31.7%) of the area were experiencing woody recovery (reforestation). The analysis also reveals significant disparities in the rates of change of the identified land use class units. These variations are more pronounced for the woody units and agricultural land than in villages. These results suggest that land cover degradation throughout the study area is primarily due to anthropogenic factors (livestock and agricultural expansion, logging, breeding…). In fact, this area is a preferred destination for agricultural migrants fleeing the unpredictable climatic conditions of the drier semi-arid areas. Overall, our results highlight the rapid decline of vegetation resources, challenging assumptions that the impact of ongoing desertification processes is mixed, outside of the arid and semi-arid regions of West Africa. The developed framework is easily reproducible and allows the implementation of a reliable diagnosis on the state of the vegetation cover from accessible and inexpensive data. Its implementation should facilitate the development of managerial techniques for better assistance to the poor, especially vulnerable to the gradual degradation of their environment

Mots clés : Rainfall/ Précipitation - Vegetation degradation/ Dégradation du couvert Végétal - Trend analysis/ Analyse de Tendance - Rain Use Efficiency/ Efficacité d’Utilisation des Pluies - SPOT - NDVI - AVHRR-NOAA - Sahel - West Africa/ Afrique de l’Ouest. - Benin - Desertification/ Désertification

Présentation (BICTEL)

Page publiée le 14 octobre 2008, mise à jour le 26 janvier 2017