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Dynamics of land-use and land-cover change in Freetown, Sierra Leone and its effects on urban and peri-urban agriculture – a remote sensing approach

Forkuor, Gerald, Cofie, Olufunke
International journal of remote sensing 2011 v.32 no.4 pp. 1017-1037
Landsat, agricultural land, deforestation, forests, grasslands, land cover, land use, population growth, remote sensing, urban agriculture, urbanization, Sierra Leone
This paper presents findings of a land-use and land-cover (LULC) change mapping exercise conducted in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Nine LULC classes were mapped from multi-temporal Landsat data of 1974, 1986 and 2000. Special attention was given to the growth or otherwise of agricultural land in relation to other LULC classes. Conversion of one land-use/-cover type to the other was identified, and its effects discussed. Major conversions occurred between agricultural lands, grasslands, evergreen forest, built-up areas and barren land. Built-up areas increased by at least 140% between 1974 and 2000, suggesting a high urbanization rate. About 882 ha (27%) of agricultural lands in 1986 were converted to residential purposes in 2000, especially at the urban fringes, in response to an increase in population. Some 14% of evergreen forest was found to have been converted to agricultural land. These major conversions suggest a strong linkage between urbanization, agriculture and deforestation.