Vital Signs Leads Land Cover Map Validation Exercise during the third GEF-Integrated Approach Pilot Program Workshop in Ghana

  • March 22, 2019
  • Posted by: bkibiti


Conservation International (CI) through the Vital Signs took part in the third Consultative Workshop for the Global Environmental Facility’s Integrated Approach Pilot Program for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa between 12th and 15th March 2019 in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Vital Signs together with Moore Center of Science are implementing component 3 of the project (Monitoring and Assessment). Part of the responsibilities for Conservation International include setting baseline data and helping the countries with a structured framework for monitoring and assessment as well as building the capacities of the countries to effectively monitor and assess their impacts/interventions.   

Vital Signs was represented by Dr. Peter Alele, the Africa Field Director, Everline Ndenga, the Technical Manager and Tom Kemboi, the Remote Sensing Analyst. The Moore Centre for Science was represented by Alex Zvoleff, Senior Director, Resilience Science and Ms. Monica Noon, GIS Manager. 

As part of CI’s mandate, draft land cover maps for the 12 project countries were developed from Sentinel 2 Imagery. The development of the maps involved gathering information from respective countries on the classification scheme, auxiliary datasets, image selection from the European Space Agency, correcting for terrain, picking training sites, running the classification, combining classes and producing draft digital and paper maps.  

The CI team led country project teams to evaluate the draft maps. As a guide, statistics on each land cover class were generated. With a general understanding of their countries’ land cover proportion, project leads were able to critique the maps. For instance, Niger indicated that their cropland covers approximately 12% and not 17% as indicated in the draft maps.  Areas that were misclassified were also identified by the countries. All these formed a basis for editing of the maps ready for accuracy assessment.  

Among the insights generated from the maps and existing socio-economic data were: 

  • A comparison of forest cover and food security index suggests that higher forest cover relates to a country’s food security, even though other factors also still influence a country’s food security. 
  • Expansion of crop land may not necessarily translate to food security. A comparison of forest cover, cropland and global hunger indicates that more cropland results in less hunger, but only to a certain extent. 
  • Literacy level is directly related to food security. Farmers need basic skills (literacy and numeracy) to improve their agricultural practices. Policy interventions may be required to improve literacy among populations in order to boost food security. 

Since the land cover maps are wall-wall maps (cover the entire country), the countries can benefit from them by using the maps in other initiatives such as spatial planning, disaster management, biomass estimation, mapping land degradation, erosion, crop production estimation, changes in forest cover, and carbon sequestration among others.  

For more information, please email Dr. Peter Alele


Back to blog listing