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Correction published on 19 May 2020, see Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 33.
Article

Soil Degradation Mapping in Drylands Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Data

Physical Geography and Environmental Change, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
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Soil Syst. 2019, 3(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3020033
Received: 20 March 2019 / Revised: 20 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and Land Degradation)
Arid and semi-arid landscapes often show a patchwork of bare and vegetated spaces. Their heterogeneous patterns can be of natural origin, but may also indicate soil degradation. This study investigates the use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery to identify the degradation status of soils, based on the hypothesis that vegetation cover can be used as a proxy for estimating the soils’ health status. To assess the quality of the UAV-derived products, we compare a conventional field-derived map (FM) with two modelled maps based on (i) vegetation cover (RGB map), and (ii) vegetation cover, topographic information, and a flow accumulation analysis (RGB+DEM map). All methods were able to identify areas of soil degradation but differed in the extent of classified soil degradation, with the RGB map classifying the least amount as degraded. The RGB+DEM map classified 12% more as degraded than the FM, due to the wider perspective of the UAV compared to conventional field mapping. Overall, conventional UAVs provide a valuable tool for soil mapping in heterogeneous landscapes where manual field sampling is very time consuming. Additionally, the UAVs’ planform view from a bird’s-eye perspective can overcome the limited view from the surveyors’ (ground-based) vantage point. View Full-Text
Keywords: erosion; landscape mapping; soil degradation; soil mapping; unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) erosion; landscape mapping; soil degradation; soil mapping; unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Krenz, J.; Greenwood, P.; Kuhn, N.J. Soil Degradation Mapping in Drylands Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Data. Soil Syst. 2019, 3, 33. https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3020033

AMA Style

Krenz J, Greenwood P, Kuhn NJ. Soil Degradation Mapping in Drylands Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Data. Soil Systems. 2019; 3(2):33. https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3020033

Chicago/Turabian Style

Krenz, Juliane, Philip Greenwood, and Nikolaus J. Kuhn. 2019. "Soil Degradation Mapping in Drylands Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Data" Soil Systems 3, no. 2: 33. https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3020033

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