The mountainous relief of Western Region of Côte d'Ivoire, as well as large savannas bordering the dense semi-deciduous forests, did not make this part of the country an area suitable for cocoa cultivation. However, in search of forest land for cocoa cultivation, a large influx of people has been observed in this area over the last decade. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of human pressure due to population migrations for cocoa cultivation on vegetation degradation in the western mountainous region. To achieve this, the methodology consisted of digital processing of a set of three Landsat satellite images from 1985, 2002 and 2018, and interviews with cocoa plantation owners in the study area. The results showed that between 2002 and 2018, the annual rates of forest and savannah loss were 8.6 and 0.7% respectively. This loss is to the benefit of new cocoa farms, which are increasing annually by 12.6%. Also, the period 2002 to 2018 corresponds to the period of strong migration of producers in the zone with a settlement rate of 85.5%.
Key words: Cocoa cultivation, Landscape dynamics, Satellite images, Agricultural migration, Western Côte d'Ivoire.
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