Desertification sensitivity analysis using medalus model and gis: A case study of the oases of middle draa valley, morocco

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sensors (Switzerland), 2018, 18 (7)
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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Oases can play a significant role in the sustainable economic development of arid and Saharan regions. The aim of this study was to map the desertification-sensitive areas in the Middle Draa Valley (MDV), which is in the southeast of Morocco. A total of 13 indices that affect desertification processes were identified and analyzed using a geographic information system. The Mediterranean desertification and land use approach; which has been widely used in the Mediterranean regions due to its simplicity; flexibility and rapid implementation strategy; was applied. All the indices were grouped into four main quality indices; i.e., soil quality; climate quality; vegetation quality and management quality indices. Each quality index was constructed by the combination of several sub-indicators. In turn; the geometric mean of the four quality index maps was used to construct a map of desertification-sensitive areas; which were classified into four classes (i.e., low; moderate; high and very high sensitivity). Results indicated that only 16.63% of the sites in the study were classified as least sensitive to desertification; and 50.34% were classified as highly and very highly sensitive areas. Findings also showed that climate and human pressure factors are the most important indicators affecting desertification sensitivity in the MDV. The framework used in this research provides suitable results and can be easily implemented in similar oasis arid areas.
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