An Integrated Desertification Vulnerability Index for Khorasan-Razavi, Iran

Mohammad Hadi PashaeiAlireza RashkiAdel Sepehr – Published 2017 – DOI:10.13189/nrc.2017.050302

In recent decades’ desertification as objectively the degradation of the ecosystems in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas of the wide range of Iran with area more than 85 percent arid and semi-arid area is derived. The purpose of this study is to present an integrated index for vulnerability assessment of desertification based on imagery data at Khorasan Razavi province. At the first was prepared a land cover map of the province for two periods; 2000 and 2013, which was classified in 6 class involving agricultural, pasture, shrub lands, residential areas, desert, and forest. We applied remotely-sensor indices regarding the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), precipitation, soil salinity (SI), evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and land surface temperature (LST), to create an integrated desertification index (IDI). The degree of desertification vulnerability was considered along 14 years from 2000-2014. The results showed that more than 60 percent area of the province is very high and high vulnerable to desertification. Approximately 22% are resistant ecosystems and about 18% classified in medium vulnerable class. Results indicated that vegetation cover changes are a most effective index for desertification process. Evapotranspiration index shows maximum fluctuations during studied periods. The kappa coefficient was measured about 0.75 which confirm the validity of results.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.