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Temporal and distance decay analysis of land use/land cover around ecotourism hotspots: evidence from Pendjari National Park, Benin

Olaniyi, Oluwatobi Emmanuel, Ogunjemite, Babafemi George, Akindele, Shadrach Olufemi, Sogbohossou, Etotepe A.
GeoJournal 2020 v.85 no.1 pp. 53-66
Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, ecotourism, geography, image analysis, information technology, land cover, land use, monitoring, national parks, planning, remote sensing, soil, spatial data, Benin
The study aimed at identifying the drivers and dynamics of the land use/land cover around the ecotourism hotspots of Pendjari National Park, Benin Republic on temporal and proximity scales. Field observation, remote sensing and geographic information technology were employed. ASTER satellite imageries (2002 and 2015) were subjected to image pre-processing, data validation, image classification, and measurements of transition. The results revealed significant impacts of ecotourism development on the land use/land cover around the ecotourism hotspots in the Park. This is based on the annual degradation (negative values)/restoration (positive values) rates of different land use/land cover classes within 100 m (− 0.220 to 0.335), 200 m (− 0.260 to 0.171) and 300 m (− 0.285 to 0.130) buffered areas. Thus, bare soil/built-up areas (a major indicator of ecotourism development) increased and decreased along the temporal and proximity scales respectively in Pendjari National Park. The later fitted and satisfied the Tobler’s first law of Geography and distance decay theory. Moreover, few other anthropogenic and managerial activities were observed to be drivers of the dynamics, apart from ecotourism development. According to the results, we suggest that monitoring technology, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approaches should be adopted in the ecotourism planning of the Park.