Context and objectivesWetlands often are at the heart of regional rural economies, and at the same time have very high conservation value. Africa supports some of the worlds largest swamps and some of these occur within the Sahelian zone : the Interior Niger Delta and the Chad Basin (comprising Lake Chad and adjacent floodplains). The last few decades the increase of the human population and the associated increased demand for irrigation water and arable land has put ever greater pressure on these ecosystems. Large-scale hydro-agricultural projects are being planned, comprising large dams and extensive irrigation schemes. Some of these have already been implemented and eventually two-thirds of the wetlands could disappear.
The availability of a baseline data set, providing an accurate picture of current land use, would be an extremely important tool for conservation purposes. In order to improve the insight into the functioning of these ecosystems, it would be interesting to study various environmental parameters. Finally, considering the very dynamic nature of these wetlands, the dataset should preferably include a temporal dimension.
Expected scientific results