Land Sensitivity Analysis of Degradation using MEDALUS model: Case Study of Deliblato Sands, Serbia

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Abstract

This paper studies the assessment of sensitivity to land degradation of Deliblato sands (the northern part of Serbia), as a special nature reserve. Sandy soils of Deliblato sands are highly sensitive to degradation (given their fragility), while the system of land use is regulated according to the law, consisting of three zones under protection. Based on the MEDALUS approach and the characteristics of the study area, four main factors were considered for evaluation: soil, climate, vegetation and management. Several indicators affecting the quality of each factor were identified. Each indicator was quantified according to its quality and given a weighting of between 1.0 and 2.0. ArcGIS 9 was utilized to analyze and prepare the layers of quality maps, using the geometric mean to integrate the individual indicator map. In turn, the geometric mean of all four quality indices was used to generate sensitivity of land degradation status map. Results showed that 56.26% of the area is classified as critical; 43.18% as fragile; 0.55% as potentially affected and 0.01% as not affected by degradation. The values of vegetation quality index, expressed as coverage, diversity of vegetation functions and management policy during the protection regime are clearly represented through correlation coefficient (0.87 and 0.47).

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