West African Land Cover Reference System
There is an increasing necessity to provide timely and updated information about the status of land resources. It is well-known that land degradation not only results in reduced food production but also in reduced environmental quality, life conditions and health. In West Africa, the most conspicuous symptoms of the negative impact of land degradation on food production are stagnating and declining yields and increasing levels of poverty. There is an increasing need and interest to strengthen regional collaboration for sustainable development through a better understanding of land dynamics. The purpose of this publication is to provide a harmonized land cover reference system in the West Africa region so that specialists and land cover communities can create their own legends and classes while allowing for future integration. The harmonization process of land cover classes includes classification systems used in the region. This land cover reference system is based on Land Cover Meta Language (LCML), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) based standards. The rules that characterize each node in LCML are controlled by a specific object-based rule that is fully documented and explained in the publication. This publication is the result of collaboration between Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Agrometeorology, Hydrology and Meteorology Regional Centre (AGRHYMET) and SERVIR West Africa.