Desertification Monitoring in Biskra, Algeria with Landsat Imagery by means of Supervised Classification and Change Detection Methods
Desertification is one of the most important prob-lems driven by global climatic change. There are many factors that contribute to the environmental degradation of the Sahara desert surroundings. The first one is related to human activities like the change of land use. Other factors include natural degradation due to change in temperature, humidity and wind. All these complex causes may lead to the movement of sand from the desert to other places like cities and roads, affecting everyday life. For that reason, desertification is being analyzed by governmental agencies in the affected countries. The present work studies this phenomenon in the city of Biskra (Algeria) using optical satellite images taken from the freely available Landsat program. It presents a methodology that could help in the temporal evaluation of the desertification process. Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) change detection in a period of twenty-five years has been carried out using Support Vector Machine (SVM) per object classification. Change indices have been also employed for assessing the degradation. Excellent results using low human operator cost have been fully validated by visual inspection.
Change detection, desertification, Landsat, land cover land change, supervised classification.