Decline of woody vegetation in a saline landscape in the Groundnut Basin, Senegal

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

Several studies have documented that vegetation in the Sahel is highly dynamic and is affected by the prevailing climatic conditions, as well as by human use of the areas. However, little is known about vegetation dynamics in the large saline areas bordering the rivers of West Africa. Combining satellite imagery, the perception of local people and botanical information, this study investigated the vegetation dynamics and the drivers of vegetation changes in Fatick Province, Senegal. Satellite images showed a change in vegetation composition, i.e., a loss of tree cover and an increase in shrub cover, herbaceous cover and tans (highly saline areas with sparse vegetation). Although the trend was the same, the three villages had different vegetation histories. A survey of the woody vegetation showed that shrubs and young trees were dominating with relatively few large trees. Local people perceived a general decline of woody plants from 1993 to 2013. Among 60 species mentioned by local people, 90 % were declining and 10 % increasing. Together the three methods documented a decrease in density and diversity of the woody vegetation, mainly influenced by salinity and land use. The large numbers of young trees indicate a potential for regeneration of some, but not all, tree species. As many tree species appreciated by local people were reported to be declining, local communities have experienced a reduction of their natural resources. Based on villagers’ recommendations for improved vegetation management, we discuss possible contributions including reforestation, desalinization and environmental protection for restoration of the vegetation.
TidsskriftRegional Environmental Change
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1765-1777
StatusUdgivet - 28 jan. 2016

ID: 154473988