Remote sensing digital image analysis has been applied to monitor land clearing and degradation processes on a plateau covered by tiger bush near Niamey in South West Niger, where signs of severe landscape degradation due to fuelwood supply have been observed in the last decades. A MODIS NDVI dataset (2000–2015) and five LANDSAT images (1986–2012) were used to identify spatial and temporal dynamics and to emphasize areas of greater degradation. The study indicates that the land clearing found by previous investigations in the second part of the 20th century is still ongoing, with a decreasing trend of MODIS NDVI values recorded in the period 2000–2015. This trend appeared to be linked to an increase in bare soil areas that was demonstrated by analysis of LANDSAT SAVI images. The investigation also indicated that rates of degradation are stronger in more deteriorated areas like those located nearer Niamey; degradation patterns also tend to increase from the inner areas to the edges of the plateau. These results attest to the urgency to develop effective environmental preservation policies and find alternative solutions for domestic energy supply.
Published in: International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Volume 62, 2017, Pages 56-68, ISSN 0303-2434,