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Sensors 2009, 9(3), 1738-1753;

Quantitative Assessment of Desertification Using Landsat Data on a Regional Scale – A Case Study in the Ordos Plateau, China

Collage of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China
Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Beijing 100038, P.R. China
State Key Lab of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, P.R. China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 December 2008 / Revised: 4 January 2009 / Accepted: 6 February 2009 / Published: 12 March 2009
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
Full-Text   |   PDF [670 KB, uploaded 21 June 2014]


Desertification is a serious threat to the ecological environment and social economy in our world and there is a pressing need to develop a reasonable and reproducible method to assess it at different scales. In this paper, the Ordos Plateau in China was selected as the research region and a quantitative method for desertification assessment was developed by using Landsat MSS and TM/ETM+ data on a regional scale. In this method, NDVI, MSDI and land surface albedo were selected as assessment indicators of desertification to represent land surface conditions from vegetation biomass, landscape pattern and micrometeorology. Based on considering the effects of vegetation type and time of images acquired on assessment indictors, assessing rule sets were built and a decision tree approach was used to assess desertification of Ordos Plateau in 1980, 1990 and 2000. The average overall accuracy of three periods was higher than 90%. The results showed that although some local places of Ordos Plateau experienced an expanding trend of desertification, the trend of desertification of Ordos Plateau was an overall decrease in from 1980 to 2000. By analyzing the causes of desertification processes, it was found that climate change could benefit for the reversion of desertification from 1980 to 1990 at a regional scale and human activities might explain the expansion of desertification in this period; however human conservation activities were the main driving factor that induced the reversion of desertification from 1990 to 2000. View Full-Text
Keywords: Desertification; quantitative assessment; Landsat; Ordos Plateau Desertification; quantitative assessment; Landsat; Ordos Plateau
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Xu, D.; Kang, X.; Qiu, D.; Zhuang, D.; Pan, J. Quantitative Assessment of Desertification Using Landsat Data on a Regional Scale – A Case Study in the Ordos Plateau, China. Sensors 2009, 9, 1738-1753.

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