GROUND TRUTHING: STUDYING PERI-URBANIZATION AND LAND-BASED LIVELIHOODS IN MANKWENG AND ITS ENVIRONS (LIMPOPO, SOUTH AFRICA)
Keywords: Former homeland, Ground truth, WorldView-3, Peri-urban, Land use/cover, Informants
Abstract. Peri-urbanization is often referred to as a transition zone following either an urban-rural gradient or an inner and outer peri-urban zone. Contrary to these notions and linked to its history in a former homeland, peri-urbanization in Mankweng appears as a complex and erratic process in reaction to shifting livelihoods, in-migration, and climate change. The process of ground truth for the study was designed by accommodating a combination of remote sensing images of WorldView-3 for the densely, vastly changing populated area (200 km2) and of Sentinel-2 for the overall study area of 400 km2. For the purpose of intensive data gathering, 16 plus three additional sites were selected in the area covered with the very high-resolution imagery as well as transect drives in the rural part. The study sites were selected and well distributed based on specific parameters such as building density, home garden size, road type with the goal of better interpreting what can be distinguished on the imagery and what influences land-based livelihoods. Additional information was gathered from informants during the ground truth through open questions and informal discussions. A solid knowledge of the land uses and land cover, including housing structures, agricultural practices, and challenges of land-based subsistence, was attained. The results revealed influential change drivers, settlement structure types, distinct development patterns, changes in traditional land-based livelihood specifically in terms of agriculture in the region and indicators for a functional zoning of the area. The ground truth provides a thorough basis for the object-based image analysis of the 200 km2 peri-urban area being next.