Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open AccessSatellite-based monitoring system for assessment of vegetation vulnerability to locust hazard in the River Ili delta (Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan)
The study investigates the overall vulnerability of vegetation in the River Ili delta (Lake Balkhash, Southern Kazakhstan) to locust hazards using correlation between the normalized difference vegetation index data from advanced very high resolution radiometer and the TOPEX/POSEIDON/JASON-1 satellite altimetry derived water level of Lake Balkhash. The study develops a new monitoring and evaluation system to detect the annual vegetated areas infested by locusts and to quantify the overall recurrence of locust damage in these areas throughout the period 1992 to 2006. The monitoring system-based annual estimations of locust-affected areas were validated against ground survey data. The validation reveals a good correspondence of the estimations with the information from ground truth. The results of the overall vulnerability assessment showed that, for the River Ili delta vegetative land, ∼17% of the total area was characterized by moderate and high vulnerability of vegetation to locust hazards, whereas ∼3% showed low vulnerability. Most parts of the Ili delta area are not sensitive to locust hazard.