Next Article in Journal
Mineral Mapping Using the Automatized Gaussian Model (AGM)—Application to Two Industrial French Sites at Gardanne and Thann
Previous Article in Journal
Downscaling GRACE Remote Sensing Datasets to High-Resolution Groundwater Storage Change Maps of California’s Central Valley
Previous Article in Special Issue
Urban Imperviousness Effects on Summer Surface Temperatures Nearby Residential Buildings in Different Urban Zones of Parma
Article Menu
Issue 1 (January) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Impacts on the Urban Environment: Land Cover Change Trajectories and Landscape Fragmentation in Post-War Western Area, Sierra Leone

1
School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, University of New South Wales Canberra, PO Box 7916, Campbell, ACT 2612, Australia
2
Geography Department, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Freetown 00232, Sierra Leone
3
School of Science, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010129
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Urban Agriculture and Land Cover)
  |  
PDF [8879 KB, uploaded 19 January 2018]
  |  

Abstract

An influential underlying driver of human-induced landscape change is civil war and other forms of conflict that cause human displacement. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) increase environmental pressures at their destination locations while reducing them at their origins. This increased pressure presents an environment for increased land cover change (LCC) rates and landscape fragmentation. To test whether this hypothesis is correct, this research sought to understand LCC dynamics in the Western Area of Sierra Leone from 1976 to 2011, a period including pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict eras, using Landsat and SPOT satellite imagery. A trajectory analysis of classified images compared LCC trajectories before and during the war (1976–2000) with after the war (2003–2011). Over the 35-year period, the built-up land class rapidly increased, in parallel with an increase in urban and peri-urban agriculture. During the war, urban and peri-urban agriculture became a major livelihood activity for displaced rural residents to make the region food self-sufficient, especially when the war destabilised food production activities. The reluctance of IDPs to return to their rural homes after the war caused an increased demand for land driven by housing needs. Meanwhile, protected forest and other forest declined. A significant finding to emerge from this research is that landscape fragmentation increased in conjunction with declining forest cover while built-up areas aggregated. This has important implications for the region’s flora, fauna, and human populations given that other research has shown that landscape fragmentation affects the landscape’s ability to provide important ecosystem services. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban agriculture; land cover change trajectory; landscape fragmentation; landscape metrics; Sierra Leone; Western Area; Landsat urban agriculture; land cover change trajectory; landscape fragmentation; landscape metrics; Sierra Leone; Western Area; Landsat
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Gbanie, S.P.; Griffin, A.L.; Thornton, A. Impacts on the Urban Environment: Land Cover Change Trajectories and Landscape Fragmentation in Post-War Western Area, Sierra Leone. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 129.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Remote Sens. EISSN 2072-4292 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top