Tutorials / Guided use cases

Lake Chad: an opportunity through ecosystem restoration 


The conflict surrounding the Lake continues to be one of the most challenging conflict-traps in the world. Within this conflict, there is a strong seasonal migration of people in search for water, pasture, fuelwood and cultivable land - in other words, access to natural resources to sustain livelihoods. The effects of climate change on the Lake are apparent: temperatures in the region are increasing one and a half times faster than the global average, and precipitation is highly variable and increasing with time. These changes, combined with more extreme weather events due to climate change, drive an increased variability in the size of the lake, which in turn exacerbates the ongoing conflict over limited resources. Lake Chad is no longer shrinking, although it was until not so long ago (2005) (see also this animation), but deforestation and forest degradation in the wider areas around the Lake are increasing as people need wood to cook. Deforestation and forest degradation do not only compound security and safety issues for local populations but can also lead to increased wind speeds and increased soil erosion.


Lake Chad, West Africa 


Climate change, Land use change, Restoration 


There is an opportunity for ecosystem restoration to a productive condition, in the Lake Chad region according to the climatic and vegetation data.

Figure 1: Screenshot of Earth Map with Lake Chad outline and calculations done ‘on the fly’ through the interface.

Figure 2: Average annual temperature (°C) from 1979 - 2019 (based on ERA5 Monthly aggregates - Latest climate reanalysis produced by ECMWF / Copernicus Climate Change Service)

Figure 3: Total annual precipitation (mm) from 1979-2019 (based on CHIRPS Daily: Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station Data (version 2.0 final))

Figure 4: Change in water occurrence intensity (1984-2018). Green indicates an increase in the intensity of water occurrence while red indicates a decrease in the intensity of water occurrence (based on the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre Global Surface Water Explorer)

Figure 5: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (Landsat 30m) (based on USGS Landsat 7 Surface Reflectance Tier 1)

Figure 6: Tree restoration potential for Lake Chad (snapshot from Earth Map)(based on Bastin et al. 2019 - The Global tree restoration potential)

Table 1: Tree restoration potential for Lake Chad in hectares (ha) (based on Bastin et al. 2019 - The Global tree restoration potential)