Constraining landslide timing in a data-scarce context: from recent to very old processes in the tropical environment of the North Tanganyika-Kivu Rift region

Olivier Dewitte, Antoine Dille, Arthur Depicker, Désiré Kubwimana, Jean Claude Maki Mateso, Toussaint Mugaruka Bibentyo, Judith Uwihirwe, Elise Monsieurs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding when landslides occur and how they evolve is fundamental to grasp the dynamics of the landscapes and anticipate the dangers they can offer up. However, knowledge on the timing of the landslides remains overlooked in large parts of the world. This is particularly the case in low-capacity regions, where infrastructures are weak or absent and data scarcity is the norm. The tropics stand out as such regions, despite being affected by high and increasing landslide impacts. There, persistent cloud cover, rapid natural vegetation regeneration, cultivation practices and high weathering rates further challenge the harvest of timing information. Based on a synthesis of our recent work, we present new findings on the characterisation of the timing of the landslides in the North Tanganyika-Kivu Rift region, a tropical environment with very low capacity and high population density. Our aim is also to highlight the methodological approaches and research strategies that we adopt to investigate such slope processes in a large region lacking baseline studies. From an inventory of more than 9000 landslides with various timing accuracy (from daily to thousands of years), we identify causes and triggers of the slope instabilities in a context of important human-induced landscape changes. This is achieved through a holistic approach that combines field work, satellite remote sensing, historical photograph processing and geomorphic marker understanding. The role of the needs of the local stakeholders in the setting up of the research strategy is also highlighted, and research perspectives are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-177
Number of pages17
JournalLandslides
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Causes and triggers
  • Environmental change
  • Hazard assessment
  • Landslide inventory
  • Remote sensing

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