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Proceedings Paper

Development of land degradation spectral indices in a semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystem
Author(s): Sabine Chabrillat; Hermann J. Kaufmann; Alicia Palacios-Orueta; Paula Escribano; Andreas Mueller
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Paper Abstract

The goal of this study is to develop remote sensing desertification indicators for drylands, in particular using the capabilities of imaging spectroscopy (hyperspectral imagery) to derive soil and vegetation specific properties linked to land degradation status. The Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park in SE Spain presents a still-preserved semiarid Mediterranean ecosystem that has undergone several changes in landscape patterns and vegetation cover due to human activity. Previous studies have revealed that traditional land uses, particularly grazing, favoured in the Park the transition from tall arid brush to tall grass steppe. In the past ~40 years, tall grass steppes and arid garrigues increased while crop field decreased, and tall arid brushes decreased but then recovered after the area was declared a Natural Park in 1987. Presently, major risk is observed from a potential effect of exponential tourism and agricultural growth. A monitoring program has been recently established in the Park. Several land degradation parcels presenting variable levels of soil development and biological activity were defined in summer 2003 in agricultural lands, calcareous and volcanic areas, covering the park spatial dynamics. Intensive field spectral campaigns took place in Summer 2003 and May 2004 to monitor inter-annual changes, and assess the landscape spectral variability in spatial and temporal dimension, from the dry to the green season. Up to total 1200 field spectra were acquired over ~120 targets each year in the land degradation parcels. The targets were chosen to encompass the whole range of rocks, soils, lichens, and vegetation that can be observed in the park. Simultaneously, acquisition of hyperspectral images was performed with the HyMap sensor. This paper presents preliminary results from mainly the field spectral campaigns. Identifying sources of variability in the spectra, in relation with the ecosystem dynamics, will allow the definition of spectral indicators of change that can be used directly to derive the desertification status of a land.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 October 2004
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5574, Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring, GIS Applications, and Geology IV, (22 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.565252
Show Author Affiliations
Sabine Chabrillat, GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (Germany)
Hermann J. Kaufmann, GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (Germany)
Alicia Palacios-Orueta, Polytechnic Univ. of Madrid (Spain)
Paula Escribano, Univ. de Almeria (Spain)
Andreas Mueller, Institute of Optoelectronics, DLR (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5574:
Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring, GIS Applications, and Geology IV
Manfred Ehlers; Francesco Posa, Editor(s)

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