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Ground- and satellite-based evidence of the biophysical mechanisms behind the greening Sahel

Title data

Brandt, Martin ; Mbow, Cheikh ; Diouf, Abdoul Aziz ; Verger, Aleixandre ; Samimi, Cyrus ; Fensholt, Rasmus:
Ground- and satellite-based evidence of the biophysical mechanisms behind the greening Sahel.
In: Global Change Biology. Vol. 21 (2015) Issue 4 . - pp. 1610-1620.
ISSN 1365-2486
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12807

Project information

Project financing: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Abstract in another language

After a dry period with prolonged droughts in the 1970s and 1980s, recent scientific outcome suggests that the decades of abnormally dry conditions in the Sahel have been reversed by positive anomalies in rainfall. Various remote sensing studies observed a positive trend in vegetation greenness over the last decades which is known as the re-greening of the Sahel. However, little investment has been made in including long-term ground-based data collections to evaluate and better understand the biophysical mechanisms behind these findings. Thus, deductions on a possible increment in biomass remain speculative. Our aim is to bridge these gaps and give specifics on the biophysical background factors of the re-greening Sahel. Therefore, a trend analysis was applied on long time series (1987-2013) of satellite-based vegetation and rainfall data, as well as on ground-observations of leaf biomass of woody species, herb biomass, and woody species abundance in different ecosystems located in the Sahel zone of Senegal. We found that the positive trend observed in satellite vegetation time series (+36) is caused by an increment of in situ measured biomass (+34), which is highly controlled by precipitation (+40). Whereas herb biomass shows large inter-annual fluctuations rather than a clear trend, leaf biomass of woody species has doubled within 27 years (+103). This increase in woody biomass did not reflect on biodiversity with 11 of 16 woody species declining in abundance over the period. We conclude that the observed greening in the Senegalese Sahel is primarily related to an increasing tree cover that caused satellite-driven vegetation indices to increase with rainfall reversal. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd214 April 2015 10.1111/gcb.12807 Primary Research Article Primary Research Articles © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Climatology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Climatology > Professorship Climatology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Cyrus Samimi
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > African Studies
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Ecology and the Environmental Sciences
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Institute of African Studies - IAS
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 30 May 2016 08:29
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2016 12:21
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/32466