Land Cover Change Investigation in the Southern Syrian Coastal Basins During the Past 30-Years Using Landsat Remote Sensing Data

Muhannad Hammad 1 , László Mucsi 1 , and Boudewijn van Leeuwen 1
  • 1 Department of Physical Geography and Geoinformatics, University of Szeged, H-6722, Szeged, Hungary

Abstract

Land cover change and deforestation are important global ecosystem hazards. As for Syria, the current conflict and the subsequent absence of the forest preservation are main reasons for land cover change. This study aims to investigate the temporal and spatial aspects and trends of the land cover alterations in the southern Syrian coastal basins. In this study, land cover maps were made from surface reflectance images of Landsat-5(TM), Landsat-7(ETM+) and Landsat-8(OLI) during May (period of maximum vegetation cover) in 1987, 2002 and 2017. The images were classified into four different thematic classes using the maximum likelihood supervised classification method. The classification results were validated using 160 validation points in 2017, where overall accuracy was 83.75%. Spatial analysis was applied to investigate the land cover change during the period of 30 years for each basin and the whole study area. The results show 262.40 km2 reduction of forest and natural vegetation area during (1987-2017) period, and 72.5% of this reduction occurred during (2002-2017) period due to over-cutting of forest trees as a source of heating by local people, especially during the conflict period. This reduction was particularly high in the Alabrash and Hseen basins with 76.13 and 79.49 km2 respectively, and was accompanied by major increase of agriculture lands area which is attributed to dam construction in these basins which allowed people to cultivate rural lands for subsistence or to enhance their economic situation. The results of this study must draw the relevant authorities’ attention to preserve the remaining forest area.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abou Zakhem, B., Hafez, R. 2010. Climatic factors controlling chemical and isotopic characteristics of precipitation in Syria. Hydrological Processes 24, 2641–2654. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7646

  • Aronoff, S. 2005. Remote Sensing for GIS Managers. illustrated ed. s.l.:ESRI Press.

  • Congalton, R.G. 1991. A review of assessing the accuracy of classifications of remotely sensed data. Remote Sensing of Environment 37(1), 35–46. DOI: 10.1016/0034-4257(91)90048-b

  • Evans, J. 2009. 21st century climate change in the Middle East. Climatic Change 92(3-4), 417–432. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-008-9438-5

  • Farr, T., Rosen, P.A., Caro, E. et al. 2007. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Review of Geophysics 45(2). DOI: 10.1029/2005rg000183

  • Goettle, A. 2002. Profit of watershed management for lowland areas - experiences made in Bavaria: Greminger: Mountain Watershed Management, Lessons from the Past - Lessons for the Future. Proceedings. Environmental Documentation 165, 97–114.

  • Gonçalves, M., Barrera-Escoda, A., Guerreiro, D., Baldasano, J.M., Cunillera, J. 2014. Seasonal to yearly assessment of temperature and precipitation trends in the North Western Mediterranean Basin by dynamical downscaling of climate scenarios at high resolution (1971–2050). Climatic Change 122(1-2), 243–256. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0994-y

  • Gulácsi, A., Kovács, F., 2015. Drought Monitoring With Spectral Indices Calculated From Modis Satellite Images In Hungary. Journal of Environmental Geography 8(3-4), 11–20. DOI: 10.1515/jengeo-2015-0008

  • Hussein, S.O., Kovács, F., Tobak, Z. 2017. Spatiotemporal assessment of vegetation indices and land cover for Erbil city and its surrounding using MODIS imageries. Journal of Environmental Geography 10(1-2), 31–39. DOI: 10.1515/jengeo-2017-0004

  • Lelieveld, J., Hadjinicolaou, P., Kostopoulou, E., Chenoweth, J., El Maayar, M. 2012. Climate change and impacts in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Climatic Change 114(3-4), 667–687. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0418-4

  • Lillesand, T.M., Kiefer, R.W. 1994. Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation. s.l.:John Wiley & Sons, 146 p.

  • López, E., Bocco, G., Mendoza, M., Duhau, E. 2001. Predicting land-cover and land-use change in the urban fringe: a case in Morelia city, Mexico. Landscape and urban planning 55(4), 271–285. DOI: 10.1016/s0169-2046(01)00160-8

  • Marh, B.S. 1998. Sustainable Mountain Development, Watershed Management and lessons to be learnt from a recent catastrophe in the Himachal Himalayas. In: Sustainable Development of Mountain Environment in India and Canad. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, Calcutta, 197–207.

  • Panigrahi, B., Goyal, M.R. 2017. Modeling Methods and Practices in Soil and Water Engineering. illustrated ed. s.l.:CRC Press.

  • Rohde, R., Muller, R.A., Jacobsen, R., Muller, E., Perlmutter, S. et al. 2013. A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011. Geoinformatics & Geostatistics: An Overview 1(1). DOI: 10.4172/2327-4581.1000101

  • Samoudi, Y. 2015. The martyr Bassel al-Assad dam in Safita is one of the most important projects in the region. Al Wahda newspaper 30 Dec., First page. (in Arabic)

  • Sarma, S., Saikia, T. 2012. Prioritization of sub-watersheds in Khanapara–Bornihat area of Assam–Meghalaya (India) based on land use and slope analysis using remote sensing and GIS. Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing 40(3), 435–446. DOI: 10.1007/s12524-011-0163-6

  • Stow, D.A., Chen, D.M. 2002. Sensitivity of multitemporal NOAA AVHRR data of an urbanizing region to land-use/land-cover changes and misregistration. Remote Sensing of Environment 80(2), 297–307. DOI: /10.1016/s0034-4257(01)00311-x

  • USGS, i.w. 2017. SRTM DEM data and Landsat Surface Reflectance Level-2 Science Products. <https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/> (accessed 10.07.2017)

  • Yeh, A.G.O., Li, X. 1999. Economic development and agricultural land loss in the Pearl River Delta, China. Habitat international 23(3), 373–390. DOI: 10.1016/s0197-3975(99)00013-2

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search