Articles | Volume 18, issue 4
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1133–1140, 2018
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1133–1140, 2018

Research article 10 Apr 2018

Research article | 10 Apr 2018

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

Masoud Masoudi1, Parviz Jokar2, and Biswajeet Pradhan3,4 Masoud Masoudi et al.
  • 1Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering, Shiraz University, Iran
  • 2Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering, Shiraz University, Iran
  • 3School of Systems, Management and Leadership, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Technology Sydney, Building 11, Level 06, 81 Broadway, Ultimo NSW 2007 (P.O. Box 123), Australia
  • 4Department of Energy and Mineral Resources Engineering, Choongmu-gwan, Sejong University, 209 Neungdong-ro Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 05006, Republic of Korea

Abstract. 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.

Short summary
The paper attempts to create a new technique for assessing the current state of land degradation. Assessment of land degradation is difficult, because it includes a complex process. This assessment, using RS and GIS seems to be more realistic in finding the degree of degradation, because it is more related to its impact on land productivity. It is hoped that this attempt, which is the first attempt of its kind in the world, will be found applicable for other regions.
Final-revised paper