Kelder, Y; Nielsen, TT; Fensholt, R (2013). The Role of Methodology and Spatiotemporal Scale in Understanding Environmental Change in Peri-Urban Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. REMOTE SENSING, 5(3), 1465-1483.
In recent decades, investigations of NPP (net primary production) or proxies here of (normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI) and land degradation in Sahelian West Africa have yielded inconsistent and sometimes contradicting results. Large-scale, long-term investigations using remote sensing have shown greening and an increase in NPP in locations and periods where specific, small scale field studies have documented environmental degradation. Our purpose is to cast some light on the reasons for this phenomenon. This investigation focuses on the south of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, a city undergoing rapid growth and urban sprawl. We combine long-term MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) image analysis of NDVI between 2002 and 2009, and by using high resolution satellite images for the same area and a field study, we compare trends of NDVI to trends of change in different categories of land cover for a selected number of MODIS pixels. Our results indicate a strong, positive association between changes in tree cover vegetation and trends of NDVI and moderate association between man-made constructions and trends of NDVI. The observed changes are discussed in relation to the unique processes of urban sprawl characterizing Ouagadougou and relative to their spatiotemporal scale.