Munkhnasan Lamchin, Jong-Yeol Lee, Woo-Kyun Lee, Eun Jung Lee, Moonil Kim, Chul-Hee Lim, Hyun-Ah Choi, So-Ra Kim
Advances in Space Research
Desertification; Sand; Assessment; Correlation; Topsoil Grain Size Index
Desertification is a serious ecological, environmental, and socio-economic threat to the world, and there is a pressing need to develop a reasonable and reproducible method to assess it at different scales. In this paper, the Hogno Khaan protected area in Mongolia was selected as the study area, and a quantitative method for assessing land cover change and desertification assessment was developed using Landsat TM/ETM+ data on a local scale. In this method, NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), TGSI (Topsoil Grain Size Index), and land surface albedo were selected as indicators for representing land surface conditions from vegetation biomass, landscape pattern, and micrometeorology. A Decision Tree (DT) approach was used to assess the land cover change and desertification of the Hogno Khaan protected area in 1990, 2002, and 2011. Our analysis showed no correlation between NDVI and albedo or TGSI but high correlation between TGSI and albedo. Strong correlations (0.77–0.92) between TGSI and albedo were found in the non-desertification areas. The TGSI was less strongly correlated with albedo in the low and non desertification areas, at 0.70 and 0.92; respectively. The desertification of the study area is increasing each year; in the desertification map for 1990–2002, there is a decrease in areas of zero and low desertification, and an increase in areas of high and severe desertification. From 2002 to 2011, areas of non desertification increased significantly, with areas of severe desertification also exhibiting increase, while areas of medium and high desertification demonstrated little change.