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The climate effects of land restoration in Africa

  • 16 November, 2020
  • Wageningen University, Water Systems and Global Change
  • dr RWA Hutjes
  • dr ir AJ Teuling

Land degradation, caused by deforestation and expanding agriculture, is a problem for many areas in the world as it results in increased erosion, low quality soils and a loss of biodiversity. In addition, the removal of vegetation can change biophysical conditions like albedo and surface roughness, leading to changes in the local climate, such as an increase in extreme temperatures and a decrease in precipitation. Land restoration projects sometimes aim to reverse these negative climate effects by regreening the project area. However, little research has been done on the climate effects of land restoration projects, especially at the local or project scale. Even less is known about the processes and relations causing these potential effect. This research, therefore, aims to determine the climate effect of land restoration project in semi-arid environments in Africa. The research is divided into four parts:
– RO1: Describe the effects of land restoration projects on observed changes in vegetation cover using satellite imagery;
– RO2: Determine the spatiotemporal, biophysical effects of restoration induced vegetation changes on the regional climate using satellite imagery;
– RO3: Identify the biophysical properties of land restoration projects controlling changes in the regional climate using atmospheric modelling;
– RO4: Create land restoration design guidelines that maximize the positive effects on the regional climate.

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Jessica Ruijsch

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