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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(5), 408; doi:10.3390/rs8050408

Identifying Categorical Land Use Transition and Land Degradation in Northwestern Drylands of Ethiopia

Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Technische Universität Dresden, Helmholtzstraße 10, D-01069 Dresden, Germany
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Academic Editors: Petri Pellikka, Lars Eklundh, Parth Sarathi Roy and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 11 January 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring of Land Changes)
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Abstract

Land use transition in dryland ecosystems is one of the major driving forces to landscape change that directly impacts the welfare of humans. In this study, the support vector machine (SVM) classification algorithm and cross tabulation matrix analysis are used to identify systematic and random processes of change. The magnitude and prevailing signals of land use transitions are assessed taking into account net change and swap change. Moreover, spatiotemporal patterns and the relationship of precipitation and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) are explored to evaluate landscape degradation. The assessment showed that 44% of net change and about 54% of total change occurred during the study period, with the latter being due to swap change. The conversion of over 39% of woodland to cropland accounts for the existence of the highest loss of valuable ecosystem of the region. The spatial relationship of NDVI and precipitation also showed R2 of below 0.5 over 55% of the landscape with no significant changes in the precipitation trend, thus representing an indicative symptom of land degradation. This in-depth analysis of random and systematic landscape change is crucial for designing policy intervention to halt woodland degradation in this fragile environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: support vector machine (SVM); NDVI; net change; swap change; systematic transition; dryland; degradation support vector machine (SVM); NDVI; net change; swap change; systematic transition; dryland; degradation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zewdie, W.; Csaplovics, E. Identifying Categorical Land Use Transition and Land Degradation in Northwestern Drylands of Ethiopia. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 408.

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