Mediterranean regions have experienced significant soil degradation over the past decades. In this context, careful land observation using satellite data is crucial for understanding the long-term usage patterns of natural resources and facilitating their sustainable management to monitor and evaluate the potential degradation. Given the environmental and political interest on this problem, there is urgent need for a centralized repository and mechanism to share geospatial data, information and maps of land change. Geospatial data collecting is one of the most important task for many users because there are significant barriers in accessing and using data. This limit could be overcome by implementing a WebGIS through a combination of existing free and open source software for geographic information systems (FOSS4G).
In this paper we preliminary discuss methods for collecting raster data in a geodatabase by processing open multi-temporal and multi-scale satellite data aimed at retrieving indicators for land degradation phenomenon (i.e. land cover/land use analysis, vegetation indices, trend analysis, etc.). Then we describe a methodology for designing a WebGIS framework in order to disseminate information through maps for territory monitoring. Basic WebGIS functions were extended with the help of POSTGIS database and OpenLayers libraries. Geoserver was customized to set up and enhance the website functions developing various advanced queries using PostgreSQL and innovative tools to carry out efficiently multi-layer overlay analysis. The end-product is a simple system that provides the opportunity not only to consult interactively but also download processed remote sensing data.
Japan, with over 75% forest cover, is one of the most heavily forested countries in the world. Various types of climax forest are distributed according to latitude and altitude. At the same time, human intervention in Japan has historically been intensive, and many forest habitats show the influence of various levels of disturbance. Furthermore, Japanese landscapes are changing rapidly, and a system of efficient monitoring is needed. The aim of this research was to identify major historical trends in Japanese landscape change and to develop a system for identifying and monitoring patterns of landscape change at the national level. To provide a base for comparison, Warmth Index (WI) climatic data was digitalized and utilized to map potential climax vegetation for all of Japan. Extant Land Use Information System (LUIS) data were then modified and digitalized to generate national level Land Use/Land Cover (LU/LC) distribution maps for 1900, 1950 and 1985. In addition, MODIS data for 2001 acquired by the Tokyo University of Information Sciences were utilized for remote LU/LC classification using an unsupervised method on multi-temporal composite data. Eight classification categories were established using the ISODATA (cluster analyses) method; alpine plant communities, evergreen coniferous forest, evergreen broad-leaved forest, deciduous broad-leaved forest, mixed forest, arable land (irrigated rice paddy, non-irrigated, grassland), urban area, river and marsh. The results of the LUIS analyses and MODIS classifications were interpreted in terms of a Landscape Transformation Sere model assuming that under increasing levels of human disturbance the landscape will change through a series of stages. The results showed that overall forest cover in Japan has actually increased over the century covered by the data; from 72.1% in 1900 to 76.9% in 2001. Comparison of the actual vegetation and the potential vegetation as predicted by WI, however, indicated that in many areas the climax vegetation has been replaced by secondary forests such as conifer timber plantations. This trend was especially strong in the warm and mid temperate zones of western Japan. This research also demonstrated that classification of moderate resolution remote sensing data, interpreted within a LTS framework, can be an effective tool for efficient and repeat monitoring of landscape changes at the national level. In the future, the authors plan to continue utilizing this approach to track rapidly occurring changes in Japanese landscapes at the national level.
regulation, and disturbances in Canadian forests: Scientific principles for management. Land. 2015; 4:83-118. DOI: 10.3390/land4010083.  Hu L, Li W, Xu B. The role of remote sensing on studying mangrove forest extent change. Int J Remote Sens. 2018:1-23. DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2018.1455239.  Ranjan AK, Anand A, Singh RK, Vallisree S. LU/LC change detection and forest degradation analysis in Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary using 3S technology: A case study in Jamshedpur-India. AIMS Geosci. 2016;2:273-285. DOI: 10.3934/geosci.2016.4.273.  Zhang H, Song HJ, Yu BC
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