The landscapes of West Africa—40 years of change

Fact Sheet 2017-3005



What has driven changes in land use and land cover in West Africa over the past 40 years? What trends or patterns can be discerned in those changes? To answer these questions, the U.S. Geological Survey West Africa Land Use Dynamics project partnered with the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel and the U.S. Agency for International Development/West Africa to map land use and land cover across the region for  three time periods (years): 1975, 2000, and 2013. This cooperative effort has resulted in the publication of a 219-page atlas, “Landscapes of West Africa: A Window on a Changing World.” The atlas uses satellite imagery, maps, and pictures to tell a complex story of landscape change at regional and national scales. It includes a collection of focused studies, some of which raise cause for concern, and others that provide considerable hope.

Suggested Citation

Cotillon, S.E., 2017, The landscapes of West Africa—40 years of change: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3005, 2 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • What is the Story of “Landscapes of West Africa”?
  • What Data were Used to Characterize Land Use and Land Cover Change?
  • How Can the Data and the Atlas be Accessed?
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The landscapes of West Africa—40 years of change
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2017-3005
DOI 10.3133/fs20173005
Year Published 2017
Language English, French
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 2 p.
Other Geospatial West Africa
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details