Journal article

Responses and feedbacks of African dryland ecosystems to environmental changes

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Publication Details

Author list: Wei F, Wang S, Brandt M, Fu B, Meadows ME, Wang L, Wang L, Tong X, Fensholt R

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

Volume number: 48

Start page: 29

End page: 35

Total number of pages: 7

ISSN: 1877-3435



Drylands occupy 43% of the African continent and play an important role in the global carbon cycle and in supporting local livelihoods. Understanding how dryland ecosystems respond to environmental changes, both structurally and functionally, is of great significance for sustainable dryland management. In this article, we review the current remote sensing-based knowledge on African dryland ecosystem dynamics and the main drivers of changes. Global CO2 enrichment, changes in rainfall regimes, and a decline in fire activity have collectively driven vegetation greening, woody plant increase and carbon dynamics in African drylands over recent decades, challenging the long-held desertification narrative. Here we also highlight the importance of rainfall–vegetation–fire feedbacks in enhancing dryland ecosystem resilience and predicting future ecosystem responses.


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Last updated on 2021-31-03 at 08:58