Encyclopedia of Earth

Africover Initiative

The Africover Project is designed to provide a digital, georeferenced database on land cover—and a geographic information reference point for the whole of Africa.

The Africover Initiative


The purpose of the Africover Project is to establish a digital georeferenced database on land cover and a geographic referential for the whole of Africa including:

  • geodetical homogeneous referential
  • toponomy
  • roads
  • hydrography

The Multipurpose Africover Database for the Environmental Resources (MADE) is produced at a 1:200,000 scale (1:100,000 for small countries and specific areas).

Reinforcing national and sub-regional capacities for the establishment, update and use of the geographic referential and land cover maps and spatial data bases is the core strategy of Africover: this has been the methodology adopted to ensure an operational approach and the sustainability of the initiative.

Why Africover? 

The renewable natural resources of many african countries have come under severe strain over the past two or three decades and most indicators point toward a continuation of this trend.

The rate of degradation and depletion of these resources has been accelerated in proportion to the increasing population pressure: deforestation, desertification, soil erosion and salinisation have degraded the environment so that the food security and economic development of many countries are threatened.

Whilst a large amount of new remote sensing data for the assessment of natural resources is available, and technologies exist for its storage, analysis and integration, the actual situation in Africa shows a severe shortage of country-wide, as well as regional and sub-regional, quantitative and qualitative information on vegetation cover and current land use.

This fact has proven to be the major limiting factor in proper planning, development and sustainable management of renewable natural resources in Africa.

The Africover project has been prepared in response to a number of national requests for assistance to the development of reliable and georeferenced information on natural resources required at sub-national, national and regional levels required for:

  • early warning
  • food security
  • agriculture
  • disaster prevention and management
  • forest and rangeland monitoring
  • environmental planning
  • watershed catchments management
  • statistics on natural resources
  • biodiversity studies
  • climate change modeling 

Hence, the purpose of Africover is to produce the geographic information required for decision making, planning and natural resources management in African countries.

Editor's Note



Organization, F. (2013). Africover Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbf1b67896bb431f6a67f8


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