Quantitative assessment of desertification in south of Iran using MEDALUS method

  • A. Sepehr
  • A. M. HassanliEmail author
  • M. R. Ekhtesasi
  • J. B. Jamali


The main aim of this study was the quantitative assessment of desertification process in the case study area of the Fidoye–Garmosht plain (Southern Iran). Based on the MEDALUS approach and the characteristics of study area a regional model developed using GIS. Six main factors or indicators of desertification including: soil, climate, erosion, plant cover, groundwater and management were considered for evaluation. Then several sub-indicators affecting the quality of each main indicator were identified. Based on the MEDALUS approach, each sub-indicator was quantified according to its quality and given a weighting of between 1.0 and 2.0. ArcGIS 9 was used to analyze and prepare the layers of quality maps using the geometric mean to integrate the individual sub-indicator maps.. In turn the geometric mean of all six quality maps was used to generate a single desertification status map. Results showed that 12% of the area is classified as very severe, 81% as severe and 7% as moderately affected by desertification. In addition the plant cover and groundwater indicators were the most important factors affecting desertification process in the study area. The model developed may be used to assess desertification process and distinguish the areas sensitive to desertification in the study region and in regions with the similar characteristics.


Desertification assessment Desertification mapping MEDALUS GIS 


  1. Aubreville, A. (1949). Climats, forets et désertification de l’Afrique tropicale. Paris: Societe d’Editions Geographiques, Maritimes et Coloniales.Google Scholar
  2. Babaev, A. G. (1985). Methodological principals of desertification processes assessment and mapping. Turkmenistan: Desert Research Institute.Google Scholar
  3. Dregne, H. E. (1991). Human activities and soil degradation. New York: Marcel Decker.Google Scholar
  4. Ekhtesasi, M. R., & Ahmadi, H. (1995). Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of wind erosion and estimation of sediments. Iranian Journal of Natural Resource, 5(2).Google Scholar
  5. Ekhtesasi, M. R., & Mohajeri, S. (1995). Iranian classification of desertification method. In 2nd National Conference of Desertification and Combating Desertification Methods, Kerman, Iran.Google Scholar
  6. FAO/UNEP. (1984). Provisional methodology for assessment and mapping of desertification (p. 73). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, United Nations Environmental Programme.Google Scholar
  7. FRW (Forest, Range, and Watershed Management Organization). (2004). National action program for combating desertification and mitigation of drought impacts. Iran: Tehran.Google Scholar
  8. Kharin, N.; Tateishi, R., & Harahsheh, H. (2000). A new desertification map of Asia. Desertification Control Bulletin, 36, 5’7.Google Scholar
  9. Kosmas, C., Poesen, J., & Briassouli, H. (1999). Key indicators of desertification at the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) scale. In C. Kosmas, M. Kirkby and N. Geeson (Eds.), The Medalus Project: Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use. Manual on Key Indicators of Desertification and Mapping Environmentally Sensitive Areas to Desertification. Project report. European Commission.Google Scholar
  10. UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) (1992). World Atlas of Desertification, editorial commentary by N. Middleton and D.S.G. Thomas. Arnold: London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Sepehr
    • 1
  • A. M. Hassanli
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. R. Ekhtesasi
    • 2
  • J. B. Jamali
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Desert Regions ManagementShiraz UniversityShirazIran
  2. 2.Arid Lands and Desert Research Institute (ADRI)Yazd UniversityYazdIran
  3. 3.Iran Meteorological OrganizationTehranIran

Personalised recommendations