New Push to Map Land Resources in Puntland

Combating land degradation is a major struggle across Puntland, hampered by the lack of comprehensive data on land cover and the classification of land for its potential and sustainable uses. Updated land cover data is of crucial importance for decision makers, as it serves multiple purposes, such as natural resource evaluation, land-use planning, land suitability classification and environmental monitoring. Moreover, an up-to-date dataset can be used as a baseline for assessing future changes and trends, enabling the monitoring of land degradation, deforestation, and urban expansion over time.

To address this information deficit, SWALIM has undertaken a detailed mapping exercise to chart Puntland’s agricultural land cover and rangelands, updating and enriching the existing dot-grid statistical map which was produced by SWALIM for the whole country. With the expressed need for data on rangelands from the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MoEWT), as well as other key partners, SWALIM has been updating its data repository as well as creating new datasets.

Updated satellite images acquired in 2015/2016 form the basis of the new analysis and are complemented by other recent (2014) datasets produced by the Austrian Boku University. At a later stage, field surveys will be conducted by the MoEWT, in collaboration with SWALIM, to validate the remote sensing analysis and resolve any interpretation issues. The final dataset will be completed in the next months and will include details on features such as agricultural areas, eight different types of natural vegetation, bare areas (without vegetation), and built-up or settlement areas.