Changing landscapes, changing societies: Use of UAV Photogrammetry for the detection and monitoring of gully erosion and its derived impact in infrastructure, housing and livelihoods in Kunene Region, Namibia

This project is an ILMI Seed Grant 2020 Awardee.


Namibia hosts a cultural and human heritage that needs to be protected. Traditional communities, like the Herero and the Himba, usually inhabit very fragile lands and ecosystems what threats their livelihood, properties, and traditions. One of the most critical threatening agents is land degradation, and in particular gully erosion, which produces drastic changes in the landscape in short time periods. Direct consequences of these changes are the reduction of arable lands and destruction of roads, paths, agriculture facilities and houses. Nevertheless, big gullies can act as linear oasis in arid areas, generating also benefits to their inhabitants, like easier access to water, shading areas and continuous green vegetation available as food for animals. This project is proposed as a research component, within a bigger initiative to study the gully problem in Namibia, to cover the research gap related to human interactions to changing landscapes. Main focus will be the study of human adaptations and resilience to the gully dynamics and environmental effects, like changes in farming practices or micro-migrations, and the inventory of threatened houses and infrastructures. Field work will be conducted by NUST staff members and students, while the collaborators from Heidelberg University will provide external expertise in the used methodologies and support to generate the project outcomes, especially the international publications.

Principal Investigator: Miguel Vallejo Orti, Namibia University of Science and Technology.

Co-investigators: Kaleb Negussie, Namibia University of Science and Technology; Bernhard Hoefle, Heidelberg University; Olaf Bubenzer, Heidelberg University; Ndera Mutita, Namibia University of Science and Technology.

Project duration    15/08/2020 - 15/02/2021

General inquiries:  Ms Emorgen Jansen