Land Use Land Cover and Change Mapping Service for Eastern and Southern Africa

Period of Performance

October 2013 - September 2023

The Land Use Land Cover and Change Mapping Service seeks to provide governments with data, tools, and skills to better understand relevant intervention actions related to land conservation and management, ensuring that land resources can be efficiently monitored and regulated. The service draws on the immense catalog of earth observation data for monitoring land use and land cover change including ENVISAT, IKONOS, Landsat, MODIS, VIIRS, SRTM, WorldView, GeoEye, Sentinel 1, Sentinel 2, and Radarsat. Together, these satellites provide a comprehensive picture of the landscape in ten countries. To support the service, SERVIR developed land use land cover maps and products, greenhouse gases accounting information, data supporting REDD+, apps to enhance data collection processes, and visualization tools to increase awareness and access to available data. 

The effects of unmanaged land are widespread, and communities become the greatest victims of uncontrolled land developments, including an increased risk of flooding in deforested regions, poor air and water quality, human wildlife conflict over scarce resources, and land degradation. This service equips decision makers with the data and tools needed to mitigate the effects of climatic, non-climatic, and anthropogenic factors contributing to changes in land cover and land use.


Changes in land cover and land use in East Africa are driven by a number of factors, with climate change and anthropogenic factors being the major contributors. Climatic factors contributing to land cover changes include erratic weather patterns and changing climate. Non-climatic factors contributing to the problem include conflicting policies, lack of synergies and coordination among stakeholders, lax enforcement of policies, and undervaluation of ecosystems. Anthropogenic factors include a growing population whose demand for agricultural land is resulting in poorly planned land use changes that lead to land degradation and fragmentation. Other anthropogenic factors include uncontrolled land subdivisions, infrastructure development, mining, charcoal burning, sedimentation, poverty, firewood extraction, overexploitation of forest services, and poorly coordinated changes in land tenure. These issues result in the need to effectively map and monitor land use and land cover changes through time to inform better policy and management decisions.