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GEO ON

URBAN RESILIENCE

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

CHAPTER 5

 
 
 
 

GEO HUMAN PLANET (GEO HP)

LANDSCAPE CHANGES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

As part of the GEO Human Planet initiative, Arizona State University and the University of Antwerp are satellite images to map land cover changes from 2000-2016 around 493 UNHCR-managed refugee camps across 49 African countries.  

Arrival of refugees is commonly believed to lead to localized environmental degradation and destruction, however landscape-wide, long-term environmental change analysis had never been performed to assess the rigor of such claims.  

The study found that refugees’ effect on the landscape has mainly been associated with localized agricultural deforestation: a 1% increase in the refugee population amplifies the transition from dominant forested areas to cropland by 1.4%. These findings show that forest cover loss around refugee settlements results from refugee dependence on the landscape for food production rather than some wholesale land clearance or biomass extraction.

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