A new approach for land degradation and desertification assessment using geospatial techniques

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2018, 18 (4), pp. 1133 - 1140
Issue Date:
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© Author(s) 2018. Land degradation reduces the production of biomass and vegetation cover for all forms of land use. The lack of specific data related to degradation is a severe limitation for its monitoring. Assessment of the current state of land degradation or desertification is very difficult because this phenomenon includes several complex processes. For that reason, no common agreement has been achieved among the scientific community for its assessment. This study was carried out as an attempt to develop a new approach for land degradation assessment, based on its current state by modifying of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) index and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) index in Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran. Using the proposed evaluation method it is easy to understand the degree of destruction caused by the pursuit of low costs and in order to save time. Results showed that based on the percent of hazard classes in the current condition of land degradation, the most and least widespread areas of hazard classes are moderate (38.6 %) and no hazard (0.65 %) classes, respectively. Results in the desert component of the study area showed that the severe class is much more widespread than the other hazard classes, which could indicate an environmentally dangerous situation. Statistical results indicated that degradation is highest in deserts and rangeland areas compared to dry cultivated areas and forests. Statistical tests also showed that the average degradation amount in the arid region is higher than in other climates. It is hoped that this study's use of geospatial techniques will be found to be applicable in other regions of the world and can also contribute to better planning and management of land.
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