Our paper “Land-use change outweighs projected effects of changing rainfall on tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa” published in Global Change Biology, has been recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field by F1000 Faculty Member George Malanson! Pr. Malanson summary:
Aleman et al. identified landscapes at risk in sub-Saharan Africa. A variety of data sources (satellite tree cover, climatic, soils, population density, and land use) are nicely combined in a statistical model (random forest) to identify the relative importance of variables. Future scenarios were developed and the random forest model re-used to predict future tree cover. Land use change was identified as a greater threat than climate change. Risk is assessed in terms of loss of tree cover and areas likely to be protected. Depending on scenario, projected loss of tree cover was high in both savanna and forest biomes, but tree cover increases could reduce the area of savanna. The highest risk is in an area south of the Sahel and with a connection to much of the Congo Basin. Given the role of land use, the conversion of savanna to biofuels to mitigate climate change is questioned. The paper could be used as an example for complementary analyses in other places. The focus on biome transitions (forest-savanna-grassland) in the context of land use highlights the importance of landscape level analyses. The action is at the edges.