Status of biodiversity as Indicator for Ecosystem Resilience in West Africa
To assess ecosystem resilience in West Africa we evaluate the status of biodiversity at landscape level using spatially explicit approaches. The spatial distribution of plant species richness is used as a proxy for biodiversity and is statistically modeled applying different modeling approaches based on species distribution data. Moreover, we analyze the current status of habitats and their potential threat with the help of land cover and vegetation type classifications derived from remote sensing datasets. In this context, criteria for habitat degradation and vulnerability are analyzed such as habitat geometry like patchiness and fragmentation, as well as the degree of conversion and pressure from alternative land use options. Moreover, the relationship between species richness, habitat status and potential for biodiversity-related ecosystem service provision is incorporated based on empirical findings.
The results achieved can be used as indicators for integrated assessment and land use impact modeling in order to facilitate the identification of scale-crossing linkages between the ecological and the social system and to test its resilience under different development
scenarios and under climate change projections.