Tree cover in Central Africa: Determinants and sensitivity under contrasted scenarios of global change

Aleman Julie, Blarquez Olivier, Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, Bremond Laurent, Favier Charly. 2017. Tree cover in Central Africa: Determinants and sensitivity under contrasted scenarios of global change. Scientific Reports, 7:41393, 12 p.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
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Abstract : Tree cover is a key variable for ecosystem functioning, and is widely used to study tropical ecosystems. But its determinants and their relative importance are still a matter of debate, especially because most regional and global analyses have not considered the influence of agricultural practices. More information is urgently needed regarding how human practices influence vegetation structure. Here we focused in Central Africa, a region still subjected to traditional agricultural practices with a clear vegetation gradient. Using remote sensing data and global databases, we calibrated a Random Forest model to correlatively link tree cover with climatic, edaphic, fire and agricultural practices data. We showed that annual rainfall and accumulated water deficit were the main drivers of the distribution of tree cover and vegetation classes (defined by the modes of tree cover density), but agricultural practices, especially pastoralism, were also important in determining tree cover. We simulated future tree cover with our model using different scenarios of climate and land-use (agriculture and population) changes. Our simulations suggest that tree cover may respond differently regarding the type of scenarios, but land-use change was an important driver of vegetation change even able to counterbalance the effect of climate change in Central Africa. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Forêt, forêt tropicale, Utilisation des terres, Changement climatique, Couverture végétale, Couvert forestier, Distribution géographique, Pastoralisme, Sécheresse, Déboisement, Pratique culturale, Télédétection, Biodiversité

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Afrique centrale

Classification Agris : K01 - Forestry - General aspects
P40 - Meteorology and climatology
E11 - Land economics and policies
P01 - Nature conservation and land resources
F70 - Plant taxonomy and geography
F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
U30 - Research methods

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2014-2018) - Sociétés, natures et territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Aleman Julie, UM2 (FRA)
  • Blarquez Olivier, UQAM (CAN)
  • Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-1136-4307
  • Bremond Laurent, UM2 (FRA)
  • Favier Charly, UM2 (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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