The role of GIS and remote sensing in land degradation assessment and conservation mapping: some user experiences and expectations

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Abstract

Planning strategies for sustainable land management require solid base line data on natural resources (soils, physiography, climate, vegetation, land use, etc.) and on socio-economic aspects. GIS and remote sensing have an important role in linkage and analysis of such data, in particular for detection (direct or indirect), extrapolation and interpretation, area calculation, and monitoring. More specifically, GIS and/or remote sensing has been or could be used: (1) to identify physiographic units; (2) to serve as a common (physiographic) base map for assessments of different kinds of soils, degradation, and conservation; (3) to overlay data layers for different map units; (4) to make area calculations; (5) to link spatial data with non-spatial but more detailed attribute data; (6) to make geo-referenced information easily accessible to non-GIS users; (7) to "bridge the scale gap", ie, upgrade experimental results from small plots to larger areas; (8) to present data in map and other graphic format; (9) to map (temporal and spatial changes in) land cover and land use; and (10) to identify areas of degradation. Located in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is in an excellent position to apply GIS and remote sensing in an integrated context, eg, to make a comprehensive inventory of natural resources, degradation status and risk and an inventory of conservation measures being applied, using internationally accepted standardised methodologies described in this paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
JournalInternational Journal of applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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