Quantifying spatial reallocation of land use/land cover categories in West Africa

Beatrice Asenso Barnieh, Li Jia*, Massimo Menenti, Min Jiang, Jie Zhou, Yunzhe Lv, Yelong Zeng, Ali Bennour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Past Land Use Land Cover (LULC) transitions analysis at the sub-continental scale of West Africa revealed spatial reallocation, i.e., simultaneous losses and gains of the LULC categories at different locations. We applied the component analysis approach to separate the total change into three major components, i.e., quantity (net change), exchange and shift (allocation change) as a way to analyse such spatial reallocation and identify the paired categories that accounted for the largest exchange and shift through time. Quantity change is the absolute value of the category's gross gains minus the category's gross losses. An exchange occurs when for example, a natural vegetation patch evolves to cropland at a location concurrently with an equal extent of cropland evolving into natural vegetation at a different location. A shift occurs when the LULC categories involved in the exchange are more than two. The amount of exchange and shift and locations that these exchanges occurred are very useful information for land policies appraisal and the long term contested re-greening of Africa as it may signal simultaneous regrowth and degradation of natural vegetation at different locations in the same landscape and also possible misclassification errors. The results revealed large exchanges in the landscape of West Africa between 1975 and 2000 for arid and humid eco-regions in West Africa. Overall, the exchange and shift components between wetland, water bodies and some other LULC categories such as forestland, other vegetation and cropland were the highest. The exchange between natural vegetation and cropland was considerable, which confirms regrowth despite the massive degradation revealed by the previous studies. Here, the large exchange in 1975–2000 highlighted large spatial reallocation of the LULC categories. The highest net change was experienced in the period between 2000 and 2013 at all spatial aggregations. Settlement and cropland experienced the highest positive net change whilst forestland and other vegetation experienced the highest negative net change. Shift was absent in the category of settlements indicating persistence over time. This analysis provided useful information on the contested re-greening of West Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108556
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Exchange
  • LULC transitions
  • Net change
  • Shift
  • Spatial reallocation
  • West Africa


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying spatial reallocation of land use/land cover categories in West Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this