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Assessing eco-scarcity as a cause of the outbreak of conflict in Darfur: a remote sensing approach

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The conflict in Darfur, Western Sudan, is frequently represented in the media as a dispute over access to resources by competing communities. Environmental degradation is often cited as either a causal or a contributory factor to the outbreak of the conflict and its prolongation. In this paper, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data are used as a measure of 'eco-scarcity' to assess the notion that the outbreak of conflict was the result of competition for resources between communities. It is shown that there is no evidence in the vegetation mapping for a worsening of the ecological situation in Western and Northern Darfur states around the outbreak of the conflict. On the contrary, the years prior to the outbreak of the conflict experienced better than average vegetation growth in the context of the past 25 years.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Bert Bolin Centre for Climate Research and Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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