ASSESSING CROPLAND ABANDONMENT FROM VIOLENT CONFLICT IN CENTRAL MALI WITH SENTINEL-2 AND GOOGLE EARTH ENGINE
- 1World Food Programme, Regional Bureau of West and Central Africa, Dakar, Senegal
- 2DaCarte, Dakar, Senegal
Keywords: Remote Sensing, Armed Conflict, Land Cover / Land Use, Agriculture, Cloud Computing, Open Geospatial
Abstract. The proposed analysis based on Sentinel-2 imagery provides evidence of impacts of the conflict in the Mopti region (central Mali), which has led to widescale cropland abandonment. This area is characterized by rapidly rising levels of violence since 2018, due to the presence of armed groups and the proliferation of self-defence militias. This study investigates how high-resolution optical imagery can help evaluate the linkages between violence and land cover / land use (LCLU) change. The processing environment of Google Earth Engine was used to generate the so-called 3-Period TimeScan (3PTS) product, a RGB composite combining the maximum NDVI values in the beginning, in the middle and in the end of the growing season, used to single out cultivated land for each year of interest. Theoretically, the period between June 15th and October 15th covers an annual agricultural cycle for the considered area; consequently, images acquired during that period were used to generate the 3PTS composites for the year of interest (2019) and for pre-conflict years. By comparing the situations before and after the start of the crisis, each populated site was categorized according to the degree of cropland change detected in its surroundings. The resulting overview map enables a regional-scale interpretation of farming activities in 2019, clearly highlighting localized areas of cropland abandonment in the region and showing a strong spatial correlation with incidence of conflict.