A leaf area index data set acquired in Sahelian rangelands of Gourma in Mali over the 2005–2017 period
The leaf area index of Sahelian rangelands and related variables such as the vegetation cover fraction, the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation and the clumping index were measured between 2005 and 2017 in the Gourma region of northern Mali. These variables, known as climate essential variables, were derived from the acquisition and the processing of hemispherical photographs taken along 1 km linear sampling transects for five contrasted canopies and one millet field. The same sampling protocol was applied in a seasonally inundated Acacia open forest, along a 0.5 km transect, by taking photographs of the understorey and the tree canopy. These observations collected over more than a decade, in a remote and not very accessible region, provide a relevant and unique data set that can be used for a better understanding of the Sahelian vegetation response to the current rainfall changes. The collected data can also be used for satellite product evaluation and land surface model development and validation. This paper aims to present the field work that was carried out during 13 successive rainy seasons, the measured vegetation variables, and the associated open database. Finally, a few examples of data use are shown. DOI of the referenced data set: https://doi.org/10.17178/AMMA-CATCH.CE.Veg_Gh.