New project started: BICSA – Biophysical Changes in the Sahel

To continue my research about the Sahel area, I received a Marie Curie Individual Fellowships (Call: H2020-MSCA-IF-2014) for the coming 2 years. The new project which started on May the 1st is named BICSA – Biophysical Changes in the Sahel: Ground and Satellite Based Evidence Across Scales and Disciplines. This is the abstract of the successful application:

Human and climate induced desertification has been a major issue for livelihoods and food security in drylands. In this context, the Sahel has been subject to various controversial studies. Earth Observation (EO) studies show a positive trend in vegetation greenness over the last decades, which has been interpreted as an increase in biomass and contradicts prevailing narratives of widespread degradation. However, new scientific outcome suggests a massive loss in biodiversity, which again contradicts the beneficial effects of the greening theory. These apparent oppositions result from little investment that has been made in studying long-term ground data. Thus, the overall purpose of this project is to assess the opposing trends of biomass increase and species decline in the Sahel. By combining a range of long-term in-situ field data records (1980s-today) with EO time series and Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery, an improved understanding on the role of trees, herbs and species on the greening Sahel will be achieved. Trends will be translated in ecosystem services and beneficial effects on livelihoods. Knowing the underlying biophysical mechanisms of the Sahel greening will resolve contradictions regarding the greening/desertification paradigms and thus be basis for future studies. Furthermore, the scientific understanding of linkages between ground and satellite data and their applicability across scales will be improved. New monitoring methods of biophysical variables address challenges in land management and food security. To achieve this, I will be trained in cutting edge skills (EO time series; object based mapping; field monitoring of vegetation productivity/biodiversity; socializing pixels; ecological services). Finally, this project will encourage a North-South collaboration in common scientific interest that is relevant for development and environmental research.


5 thoughts on “New project started: BICSA – Biophysical Changes in the Sahel

  1. Hi Brandt,I have been following your post on sahel studies for quite some time.they are all wonderful and I have been sitting your work.i am a phd student at university of Abuja nigeria and also writing on greening of the sahel and the structure of my work is very similar to the your post of 9th of May.i also intend to use very high resolution imagery of spot 6 (2.5)resolution for my studies.and the for the classification I intend to use object based classification.i would use e cognition software.i would like communicate with you for advice on my study area is sokoto nigeria.thank u till I hear from you.

    • Hi Brandt,I have been following your post on sahel studies ,all your articles are wonderful.i am also writing on sahel greening(study area sokoto nigeria).i intend to use object based classification for my work using e cognition.i would want to communicate with you for advice on my work.thanks till I hear from u.

  2. Hi Martin,

    I am interested to know much about your new BISCA research. I am working in the same field and study area. And my main argument is on the greening trends of sub-Saharan Africa by comparison of data of indigenous vegetation species based on the filed work i conducted. Previously, i used residual trend analysis using soil moisture and NDVI3g, and the overall trend was positive. However, the actually ecosystem condition of the area has changed significantly, with some of the known species along Nigeria-Niger boarder disappeared already.

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