26 Mar 2021

26 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

An update and beyond: key landscapes for conservation land cover and change monitoring, thematic and validation datasets for the African, Caribbean and Pacific region

Zoltan Szantoi1,2, Andreas Brink1, and Andrea Lupi1 Zoltan Szantoi et al.
  • 1European Commission, Joint Research Centre, 21027 Ispra, Italy
  • 2Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa

Abstract. Natural resources are increasingly being threatened in the world. Threats to biodiversity and human well-being pose enormous challenges to many vulnerable areas. Effective monitoring and protection of sites with strategic conservation importance require timely monitoring with special focus on certain land cover classes which are especially vulnerable. Larger ecological zones and wildlife corridors warrant monitoring as well, as these areas have an even higher degree of pressure and habitat loss as they are not "protected" compared to Protected Areas (i.e. National Parks, etc.). To address such a need, a satellite-imagery-based monitoring workflow to cover at-risk areas was developed. During the program’s first phase, a total of 560 442 km2 area in sub-Saharan Africa was covered. In this update we remapped some of the areas with the latest satellite images available, and in addition we added some new areas to be mapped. Thus, in this version we updated and mapped an additional 852 025 km2 in the Caribbean, African and Pacific regions with up to 32 land cover classes. Medium to high spatial resolution satellite imagery was used to generate dense time series data from which the thematic land cover maps were derived. Each map and change map were fully verified and validated by an independent team to achieve our strict data quality requirements. The independent validation datasets for each Key Landscape for Conservation (KLC) are also described and presented here (all presented datasets are available at, Szantoi et al., 2021).

Zoltan Szantoi et al.

Status: open (until 21 May 2021)

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Zoltan Szantoi et al.

Data sets

Land cover and change thematic and validation datasets for selected African, Caribbean and Pacific areas Szantoi, Zoltan, Brink, Andreas, & Lupi, Andrea

Zoltan Szantoi et al.


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Short summary
The ever evolving landscapes in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions should be monitored for land cover changes. The Global Land Monitoring Service of the Copernicus Programme, and in particular the Hot-Spot Monitoring service developed a satellite-imagery-based monitoring workflow to monitor such areas. Here, we present a total of 852 025 km2 areas mapped with up to 32 classes. Thematic land cover and land cover change maps, as well as validation datasets are presented here.