Universiteit Leiden

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SMALL Savannah : an information system for the integrated analysis of land use change in the Far North of Cameroon

Promotores: W.T. de Groot, M. Tchuenté, Co-promotor: J.P. Cheylan

Eric Fotsing
08 december 2009
Thesis in Leiden Repository

SMALL Savannah is an Environmental Information System designed for the integrated analysis and sustainable land management in the savannas region of the Far North of Cameroon. This system combines an observation and spatial analysis module for the representation of phenomena from various geographic data sources, with a module for the explanation and prediction of land use pattern and changes, and a dynamic modelling and simulation module for the exploration of possible land use change trajectories. Due to a high demographic pressure combined with an increasing human mobility, many changes have occurred in the land use of the study area during the last two decades. These dynamics have led to land saturation resulting in more competition between land uses and conflicts between actors. The spatial and quantitative analysis for the observation period (1987-1999) indicates that accessibility to the main urban centre, soil suitability and population pressure, have been the main driving factors behind this process. According to assumption formulated for future development, it is expected that changes in land use of this area will continue to depend on these factors. But, the land use trajectories will be mainly influenced by the implication of urban actors and the potential investment of local actors for improving land quality and management. The simulations performed for the period 1999 to 2010 indicate areas where changes are likely to occur, thus providing a possibility to evaluate the spatial impact of a given land management policy. The information system under development is an appropriate tool for a regional monitoring system of land use change and rural development. It can be used by scientist and actors involved in land use planning for decision making and adaptive land use management. Another utilisation can be considered with local actors in order to discuss and prepare any concertation or negotiation when dealing with participatory approach of land use and management.