Remote sensing- and GIS-based analysis of potential erosion and degradation areas on the island of Fogo (Cape Verde)

Dipl.-Geogr. Claas Olehowski
First advisor: Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund

Due to its high altitudinal range (up to 2830 meters), the island of Fogo in the Atlantic Ocean is exposed to the influences of diverse regional climate regimes, superimposed by the trade wind circulation, causing distinct geo-ecological disparities. Since the 1960s, global climate change and its negative impacts can be observed also, in particular, in this area of an extension of the Sahel Zone. They lead to a higher variability and an overall decrease in annual precipitation on the Cape Verde Islands. In consequence, the changing environmental parameters of the local flora’s natural habitat led to persistent impacts on the natural vegetation and agricultural crops, which showed distinctive shifts in their spatial distribution areas in the last decades. Various human land use requirements, mainly due to  the strong population growth and the associated spatial dimension, the more intense agricultural use and the increasing tourism, put further pressure on the island ecosystem. Among the consequences of these developments are not only the displacement of local and partly endemic species, but also increasing erosion and degradation.

The systematic detection of present and potential areas of erosion and degradation on Fogo can help to assess future developments and can constitute the basis for a catalogue of measures for the protection of the areas. Remote sensing data combined with in-situ analyses constitute the main foundation for the comprehensive classification of the present and historic erosion and degradation areas. Change analyses over many years reveal hot spots of risk. The additional analysis of ecological and anthropogenic factors can uncover the causes of these changes.


Land cover/use classification of the island of Fogo (basis EO-1 ALI data, 01/2010)


Project start: 2007


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