Applying the change vector analysis technique to assess the desertification risk in the south-west of Romania in the period 1984–2011

Abstract

The desertification risk affects around 40% of the agricultural land in various regions of Romania. The purpose of this study is to analyse the risk of desertification in the south-west of Romania in the period 19842011 using the change vector analysis (CVA) technique and Landsat thematic mapper (TM) satellite images. CVA was applied to combinations of normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI)-albedo, NDVI-bare soil index (BI) and tasselled cap greenness (TCG)-tasselled cap brightness (TCB). The combination NDVI-albedo proved to be the best in assessing the desertification risk, with an overall accuracy of 87.67%, identifying a desertification risk on 25.16% of the studied period. The classification of the maps was performed for the following classes: desertification risk, re-growing and persistence. Four degrees of desertification risk and re-growing were used: low, medium, high and extreme. Using the combination NDVI-albedo, 0.53% of the analysed surface was assessed as having an extreme degree of desertification risk, 3.93% a high degree, 8.72% a medium degree and 11.98% a low degree. The driving forces behind the risk of desertification are both anthropogenic and climatic causes. The anthropogenic causes include the destruction of the irrigation system, deforestation, the destruction of the forest shelterbelts, the fragmentation of agricultural land and its inefficient management. Climatic causes refer to increase of temperatures, frequent and prolonged droughts and decline of the amount of precipitation.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the USGS website for the Landsat imagery and Dr. Raluca Sinu and Claudia Ciubancan for language assistance. Also, the author would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive observations and comments.

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Correspondence to Iosif Vorovencii.

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Vorovencii, I. Applying the change vector analysis technique to assess the desertification risk in the south-west of Romania in the period 1984–2011. Environ Monit Assess 189, 524 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-6234-6

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Keywords

  • Risk desertification
  • Landsat
  • Albedo
  • NDVI
  • BI