Satellite Images (satellite + image)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Earth and Environmental Science

Kinds of Satellite Images

  • high-resolution satellite image

  • Selected Abstracts

    Tracking Fragmentation of Natural Communities and Changes in Land Cover: Applications of Landsat Data for Conservation in an Urban Landscape (Chicago Wilderness)

    Yeqiao Wang
    Within the metropolis survive some of the world's best remaining examples of eastern tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, open oak woodland, and prairie wetland. Chicago Wilderness is more than 81,000 ha of protected areas in the urban and suburban matrix. It also is the name of the coalition of more than 110 organizations committed to the survival of these natural lands. The long-term health of these imperiled communities depends on proper management of the more extensive, restorable lands that surround and connect the patches of high-quality habitat. Information critical to the success of conservation efforts in the region includes (1) a current vegetation map of Chicago Wilderness in sufficient detail to allow quantitative goal setting for the region's biodiversity recovery plan; (2) quantified fragmentation status of the natural communities; and (3) patterns of land-cover change and their effects on the vitality of communities under threat. We used multispectral data from the Landsat thematic mapper (October 1997) and associated ground truthing to produce a current vegetation map. With multitemporal remote-sensing data (acquired in 1972, 1985, and 1997), we derived land-cover maps of the region at roughly equivalent intervals over the past 25 years. Analyses with geographic information system models reveal rapid acceleration of urban and suburban sprawl over the past 12 years. Satellite images provide striking visual comparisons of land use and health. They also provide banks of geographically referenced data that make quantitative tracking of trends possible. The data on habitat degradation and fragmentation are the biological foundation of quantitative goals for regional restoration. Resumen: En Chicago hay una concentración de comunidades naturales globalmente significativas sorprendentemente alta. En la metrópolis sobreviven algunos de los mejores ejemplos mundiales remanentes de praderas de pastos orientales, sabanas de roble, bosques abiertos de roble y humedales de pradera. Chicago Wilderness es más de 81,000 ha de áreas protegidas en la matriz urbana y suburbana. También es el nombre de una coalición de más de 110 organizaciones dedicadas a la supervivencia de esas tierras naturales. La salud a largo plazo de estas comunidades amenazadas depende del manejo adecuado de las tierras, más extensas y restaurables, que rodean y conectan a los fragmentos de hábitat de alta calidad. La información crítica para el éxito de los esfuerzos de conservación en la región incluye: (1) un mapa actualizado de la vegetación de Chicago Wilderness con suficiente detalle para que la definición de metas cuantitativas para el plan de recuperación de la región sea posible; (2) cuantificación de la fragmentación de las comunidades naturales y (3) patrones de cambio de cobertura de suelo y sus efectos sobre la vitalidad de las comunidades amenazadas. Utilizamos datos multiespectrales del mapeador temático Landsat (octubre 1997) y verificaciones de campo asociadas para producir el mapa actualizado de vegetación. Con datos de percepción remota multitemporales (obtenidos en 1972, 1985 y 1997), derivamos los mapas de cobertura de suelo en la región en intervalos equivalentes en los últimos 25 años. El análisis de los modelos SIG revela una rápida aceleramiento del crecimiento urbano y suburbano en los últimos 12 años. Las imágenes de satélite proporcionan comparaciones visuales notables del uso y condición del suelo. También proporcionan bancos de datos referenciados geográficamente que hacen posible el rastreo de tendencias cuantitativas. Los datos de degradación y fragmentación del hábitat son la base biológica de metas cuantitativas para la restauración regional. [source]


    Kwan Tun Lee
    Abstract: The Chi-Chi earthquake, which occurred on September 21, 1999, and had a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale, resulted in an extensive landslide that blocked the Ching-Shui Creek in Taiwan, forming a large lake with a storage volume of 40 million m3. This paper describes an analytical procedure used to perform flow analysis of the Tsao-Ling watershed, which includes the new landslide dammed lake. In this study, a digital elevation model was applied to obtain the watershed geomorphic factors and stage-area storage function of the landslide dammed lake. Satellite images were used to identify the landslide area and the land cover change that occurred as a result of the earthquake. Two topography-based runoff models were applied for long term and short term streamflow analyses of the watershed because the watershed upstream of the landslide dam was ungauged. The simulated daily flow and storm runoff were verified using limited available measured data in the watershed, and good agreement was obtained. The proposed analytical procedure for flow analysis is considered promising for application to other landslide dammed lake watersheds. [source]

    Interaction of katabatic winds and mesocyclones near the eastern coast of Greenland

    Thomas Klein
    Satellite images occasionally show the existence of mesocyclones (MCs) close to the eastern coast of Greenland, especially in the region of Angmagssalik/Tasiilaq. The forcing mechanisms of such MCs are investigated by means of numerical simulations with a three-dimensional mesoscale model. The special characteristics of the East Greenland topography are shown to be a key factor for the development of the MCs. The channeling of the flow in large valleys along the East Greenland coast leads to a convergence, implying a vertical stretching of the flow through the valleys and the generation of cyclonic vorticity. This convergence can be strong during intense katabatic storms, so-called Piteraqs, which are a much-feared phenomenon in that area of Greenland. During these situations the synoptic environment enforces the katabatic flow. The results of the simulations suggest a close relationship between the occurrence of Piteraqs and the generation of mesoscale vortices close to the East Greenland coast. An improved understanding of these processes will help forecasters to advise aircraft and ship operations near the coast of East Greenland. Copyright © 2002 Royal Meteorological Society. [source]

    Land Cover Characteristics in Ne Iceland with Special Reference to Jökulhlaup Geomorphology

    Petteri Alho
    ABSTRACT Subglacial eruptions in Vatnajbkull have accounted for several jökulhlaups (glacial outburst floods) in the Northern Volcanic Zone (NVZ). These events and aeolian processes have had a considerable impact on the landscape evolution of the area. Most of this area is occupied by barren land cover; the northern margin of the barren land cover is advancing northwards, burying vegetation under wind-blown sediment. This paper presents a land-cover classification based on a supervised Landsat TM image classification with pre-processing and extensive field observations. Four land cover categories were identified: (a) lava cover (34.8%); (b) barren sediment cover (39.0%); (c) vegetation (25.1%); and (d) water and snow (1.1%). The mapping of sand transport routes demonstrates that a major aeolian sand transportation pathway is situated in the western part of the study area. The sedimentary formation elongated towards the northeast is evidence of active and continuous aeolian sand transportation towards the north. Interpretation of the satellite image suggests that four main areas are affected by jökulhlaups along the Jökulsáá Fjöllum: Ásbyrgi, Grímsstaðir, Herðubreið,Möðrudalur, and the Dyngjujökull sandur. In addition, jökulhlaup-related sediment cover (8%) in the study area, together with erosional features, are evidence of a severe and extensive jökulhlaup-induced process of land degradation. [source]

    Estimating the spatial distribution of available biomass in grazing forests with a satellite image: A preliminary study

    GRASSLAND SCIENCE, Issue 2 2005
    Michio Tsutsumi
    Abstract We tested whether available biomass in grazing forests could be estimated by analyzing a satellite image with field data. Our study site was situated in north-eastern Japan and was composed of coniferous forest differing in afforested years, multilayered coniferous forest and deciduous broadleaf forest. The data of available biomass collected in previous studies was used to analyze a Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) image acquired in summer and we tried to depict a map of the spatial distribution of available biomass in the forest. It was suggested that an analysis should be conducted separately in each of the multilayered coniferous, the other coniferous and broadleaf forests. As a result of regression analysis on the relationship between available biomass and each of several parameters, the first principal component computed with reflectance of the six bands of the Landsat TM was the most appropriate parameter to estimate available biomass. The answer to the question ,Can the spatial distribution of available biomass in a forest be estimated with a satellite image?' is ,Yes, in coniferous forests'. We propose a procedure for depicting a precise map of the distribution of available biomass in a forest with analysis of a satellite image. [source]

    Snow-distribution and melt modelling for glaciers in Zackenberg river drainage basin, north-eastern Greenland

    Sebastian H. Mernild
    Abstract A physically based snow-evolution modelling system (SnowModel) that includes four sub-models: MicroMet, EnBal, SnowPack, and SnowTran-3D, was used to simulate eight full-year evolutions of snow accumulation, distribution, sublimation, and surface melt from glaciers in the Zackenberg river drainage basin, in north-east Greenland. Meteorological observations from two meteorological stations were used as model inputs, and spatial snow depth observations, snow melt depletion curves from photographic time lapse, and a satellite image were used for model testing of snow and melt simulations, which differ from previous SnowModel tests methods used on Greenland glaciers. Modelled test-period-average end-of-winter snow water equivalent (SWE) depth for the depletion area differs by a maximum of 14 mm w.eq., or ,6%, more than the observed, and modelled test-period-average snow cover extent differs by a maximum of 5%, or 0·8 km2, less than the observed. Furthermore, comparison with a satellite image indicated a 7% discrepancy between observed and modelled snow cover extent for the entire drainage basin. About 18% (31 mm w.eq.) of the solid precipitation was returned to the atmosphere by sublimation. Modelled mean annual snow melt and glacier ice melt for the glaciers in the Zackenberg river drainage basin from 1997 through 2005 (September,August) averaged 207 mm w.eq. year,1 and 1198 mm w.eq. year,1, respectively, yielding a total averaging 1405 mm w.eq. year,1. Total modelled mean annual surface melt varied from 960 mm w.eq. year,1 to 1989 mm w.eq. year,1. The surface-melt period started between mid-May and the beginning of June and lasted until mid-September. Annual calculated runoff averaged 1487 mm w.eq. year,1 (,150 × 106 m3) (1997,2005) with variations from 1031 mm w.eq. year,1 to 2051 mm w.eq. year,1. The model simulated a total glacier recession averaging , 1347 mm w.eq. year,1 (,136 × 106 m3) (1997,2005), which was almost equal to previous basin average hydrological water balance storage studies , 244 mm w.eq. year,1 (,125 × 106 m3) (1997,2003). Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    The Enigma of ,Aydhab: a Medieval Islamic Port on the Red Sea Coast

    David Peacock
    The medieval Islamic port of ,Aydhab played a major role in the hajj and in trade with Yemen, India and the Far East. A recent satellite image reveals the layout of the town in some detail, but there seems to be no trace of a viable harbour. Yet there was a fine secure harbour at Halaib, 20 km to the south. We tentatively suggest that the main port of ,Aydhab was separate from the town. This hypothesis can only be verified by fieldwork and our objective in this paper is draw attention to the problem rather than to resolve it. © 2007 The Authors [source]

    The impact of cattle ranching on large-scale vegetation patterns in a coastal savanna in Tanzania

    M. W. Tobler
    Summary 1The success of large-scale cattle ranching in African savanna vegetation has often been limited by problems of bush encroachment and disease (in particular trypanosomiasis spread by tsetse flies). Mkwaja Ranch, occupying an area of 462 km2 on the coast of Tanzania, is a recent example of a large ranching enterprise that failed within the savanna environment. It was closed in 2000 after 48 years of operation. In this paper we describe the main vegetation types of the area (excluding closed forest vegetation) and relate their patterns of distribution to the former use of the ranch for cattle. 2The study area comprised the former ranch and parts of the adjacent Saadani Game Reserve, which had not been grazed by cattle for many years and had never been used for large-scale ranching. Following field surveys, 15 distinct types of grassland and bush vegetation were defined and a vegetation map was created using a Landsat TM satellite image. A multispectral classification using the maximum likelihood algorithm gave good results and enabled all 15 vegetation types to be distinguished on the map. 3Two main spatial trends were detected in the vegetation. One was a large-scale decrease in the cover of bushland from the most intensively used parts of the ranch through more extensively used areas to the game reserve; this trend was attributed to differences in management history as well as to climatic and topographic factors. A second trend was a radial vegetation pattern associated with the enclosures where cattle were herded at night. High amounts of three bushland types [dominated by (i) Acacia zanzibarica, (ii) Dichrostachys cinerea, Acacia nilotica or Acacia mellifera and (iii) Terminalia spinosa] occurred in a zone between 300 and 2500 m from the paddocks, with a peak in bush density at about 900 m (mean value for 18 paddocks). In contrast, bushland dominated by Hyphaene compressa was scarce close to the paddocks and became more abundant with distance. There was also a radial trend in the grassland communities: close to the paddocks there was short grass vegetation containing many ruderals and invasive weedy species, while the tall grassland types with species such as Hyperthelia dissoluta and Cymbopogon caesius occurred further away in the areas less affected by cattle. 4Synthesis and applications. The intensive modern livestock ranching as practised on Mkwaja Ranch proved to be unsustainable both economically and ecologically. In the end, the biggest problem faced by the ranch managers was not controlling disease, as had originally been feared, but preventing the spread of bush on pasture land. The results of our study demonstrate just how severe the problem of bush encroachment was, especially in areas close to paddocks. An important lesson for management is that grazing patterns need to be taken into consideration when determining the sustainable stocking rate for an area. To reduce the risk of bush encroachment in grazing systems with focal points such as paddocks or watering points, stocking rates need to be lower than in systems with a more uniform grazing distribution. [source]

    Floristic patterns and plant traits of Mediterranean communities in fragmented habitats

    Guillem Chust
    Abstract Aim, To contrast floristic spatial patterns and the importance of habitat fragmentation in two plant communities (grassland and scrubland) in the context of ecological succession. We ask whether plant assemblages are affected by habitat fragmentation and, if so, at what spatial scale? Does the relative importance of the niche differentiation and dispersal-limitation mechanisms change throughout secondary succession? Is the dispersal-limitation mechanism related to plant functional traits? Location, A Mediterranean region, the massif of Albera (Spain). Methods, Using a SPOT satellite image to describe the landscape, we tested the effect of habitat fragmentation on species composition, determining the spatial scale of the assemblage response. We then assessed the relative importance of dispersal-related factors (habitat fragmentation and geographical distance) and environmental constraints (climate-related variables) influencing species similarity. We tested the association between dispersal-related factors and plant traits (dispersal mode and life form). Results, In both community types, plant composition was partially affected by the surrounding vegetation. In scrublands, animal-dispersed and woody plants were abundant in landscapes dominated by closed forests, whereas wind-dispersed annual herbs were poorly represented in those landscapes. Scrubby assemblages were more dependent on geographical distance, habitat fragmentation and climate conditions (temperature, rainfall and solar radiation); grasslands were described only by habitat fragmentation and rainfall. Plant traits did not explain variation in spatial structuring of assemblages. Main conclusions, Plant establishment in early Mediterranean communities may be driven primarily by migration from neighbouring established communities, whereas the importance of habitat specialization and community drift increases over time. Plant life forms and dispersal modes did not explain the spatial variation of species distribution, but species richness within the community with differing plant traits was affected by habitat patchiness. [source]

    Short-term survival and long-term mortality of Acacia drepanolobium after a controlled burn

    B. D. Okello
    Abstract We investigated the short- and long-term effects of a controlled burn in Acacia drepanolobium woodland in Laikipia, Kenya in 1998. Fire temperatures averaged 250°C at ground level, with a maximum of over 500°C, but were rarely >100°C at 1.5 m above the ground or more. Nine months after the fire, virtually all A. drepanolobium trees had survived the fire. Some smaller trees were burnt to ground level, but most were only ,top-killed' and had coppiced. Taller trees suffered less damage than smaller trees. However, a 2003 satellite image suggested a dramatic reduction in A. drepanolobium canopy cover at the site. A survey of the site in 2006 revealed that the density of larger A. drepanolobium trees was nearly three times greater in adjacent control areas than in the old burn, with a lesser reduction in the density of smaller trees. These data suggest that short-term measures of postburn survivorship may be deceptive, and that an additional source of tree mortality (perhaps elephants) was concentrated on trees in burned areas, even many months after the burn, with long-term consequences for tree and ecosystem dynamics. Résumé Nous avons étudié les effets à court et à long terme d'un feu contrôlé dans la forêt àAcacia drepanolobium située à Laikipia, au Kenya, en 1998. La température du feu avoisinait les 250°C au niveau du sol, avec un maximum de 500°C, mais elle dépassait rarement les 100°C à 1,5 mètre au-dessus du sol et plus haut. Neuf mois après le feu, pratiquement tous les Acacia drepanolobium avaient survécu. Certains des arbres plus petits avaient brûlé jusqu'au ras du sol, mais chez la plupart, seule la partie aérienne avait brûlé et ils avaient fait des repousses. Les arbres plus grands avaient subi moins de dommages. Pourtant, une image satellite prise en 2003 a suggéré une réduction spectaculaire de la canopée d'A. drepanolobiumà cet endroit. Une étude du site réalisée en 2006 a révélé que la densité des plus grands A. drepanolobiumétait près de trois fois plus forte dans les zones de contrôle adjacentes que sur le site brûlé, où la densité des plus petits arbres était moins réduite. Ces données suggèrent que les mesures de la survie postincendie faites à court terme peuvent être trompeuses, et qu'une source supplémentaire de mortalité des arbres (peut-être des éléphants) s'est concentrée sur les arbres des zones brûlées, même plusieurs mois plus tard, avec des conséquences à long terme pour les arbres et la dynamique de l'écosystème. [source]

    Soil organic carbon pools in a periglacial landscape: a case study from the central Canadian Arctic

    Gustaf Hugelius
    Abstract We investigated total storage and landscape partitioning of soil organic carbon (SOC) in continuous permafrost terrain, central Canadian Arctic. The study is based on soil chemical analyses of pedons sampled to 1-m depth at 35 individual sites along three transects. Radiocarbon dating of cryoturbated soil pockets, basal peat and fossil wood shows that cryoturbation processes have been occurring since the Middle Holocene and that peat deposits started to accumulate in a forest-tundra environment where spruce was present (,6000 cal yrs BP). Detailed partitioning of SOC into surface organic horizons, cryoturbated soil pockets and non-cryoturbated mineral soil horizons is calculated (with storage in active layer and permafrost calculated separately) and explored using principal component analysis. The detailed partitioning and mean storage of SOC in the landscape are estimated from transect vegetation inventories and a land cover classification based on a Landsat satellite image. Mean SOC storage in the 0,100-cm depth interval is 33.8,kg C,m,2, of which 11.8,kg C m,2 is in permafrost. Fifty-six per cent of the total SOC mass is stored in peatlands (mainly bogs), but cryoturbated soil pockets in Turbic Cryosols also contribute significantly (17%). Elemental C/N ratios indicate that this cryoturbated soil organic matter (SOM) decomposes more slowly than SOM in surface O-horizons. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Life on the edge , to which degree does phreatic water sustain vegetation in the periphery of the Taklamakan Desert?

    Helge Bruelheide
    Abstract Questions: Do the vegetation-specific patterns in the forelands of river oases of the Taklamakan Desert provide clues to the degree to which a vegetation type depends on unsaturated soil moisture, brought about by extensive floodings, or phreatic water? Location: Foreland of the Qira oasis on the southern rim of the Taklamakan Desert, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. Methods: A vegetation map was prepared using a SPOT satellite image and ground truthing. Measurements of soil water contents were obtained from a flooding experiment and transformed into water potentials. Sum excedance values were calculated as the percentage of days on which different thresholds of soil water potentials were transgressed. Groundwater depth was mapped by drilling 30 groundwater holes and extrapolating the distances to the whole study area. Results: The vegetation was characterized by only six dominant or codominant species: Alhagi sparsifolia, Karelinia caspia, Populus euphratica, Tamarix ramosissima, Calligonum caput-medusae and Phragmites australis. The vegetation patterns encountered lacked any linear features typical of phreatophytes, thus not allowing direct conclusions on the type of the sustaining water sources. Soil water potentials never transgressed a threshold of pF 5 (,10 MPa) in horizons above the capillary fringe during periods without inundation, thus representing water not accessible for plants. Depth to the groundwater ranged between 2.3 and 17.5 m among plots and varied between 1.7 and 8.0 m within a plot owing to dune relief. The seven main vegetation types showed distinct niches of groundwater depths, corresponding to the observed concentric arrangement of vegetation types around the oasis. Conclusions: Inundation by flooding and unsaturated soil moisture are irrelevant for the foreland vegetation water supply. Although distances to the groundwater table can reach about 20 m, which is exceptionally large for phreatophytes, groundwater is the only water source for all vegetation types in the oasis foreland. In consequence, successful maintenance of oasis foreland vegetation will crucially depend on providing non-declining ground water tables. [source]

    Refining Biodiversity Conservation Priorities

    Bosque del Atlántico; percepción remota; priorización; SIG; sitios prioritarios para la conservación Abstract:,Although there is widespread agreement about conservation priorities at large scales (i.e., biodiversity hotspots), their boundaries remain too coarse for setting practical conservation goals. Refining hotspot conservation means identifying specific locations (individual habitat patches) of realistic size and scale for managers to protect and politicians to support. Because hotspots have lost most of their original habitat, species endemic to them rely on what remains. The issue now becomes identifying where this habitat is and these species are. We accomplished this by using straightforward remote sensing and GIS techniques, identifying specific locations in Brazil's Atlantic Forest hotspot important for bird conservation. Our method requires a regional map of current forest cover, so we explored six popular products for mapping and quantifying forest: MODIS continuous fields and a MODIS land cover (preclassified products), AVHRR, SPOT VGT, MODIS (satellite images), and a GeoCover Landsat thematic mapper mosaic (jpg). We compared subsets of these forest covers against a forest map based on a Landsat enhanced thematic mapper. The SPOT VGT forest cover predicted forest area and location well, so we combined it with elevation data to refine coarse distribution maps for forest endemic birds. Stacking these species distribution maps enabled identification of the subregion richest in threatened birds,the lowland forests of Rio de Janeiro State. We highlighted eight priority fragments, focusing on one with finer resolved imagery for detailed study. This method allows prioritization of areas for conservation from a region >1 million km2 to forest fragments of tens of square kilometers. To set priorities for biodiversity conservation, coarse biological information is sufficient. Hence, our method is attractive for tropical and biologically rich locations, where species location information is sparse. Resumen:,Aunque hay acuerdo generalizado sobre las prioridades de conservación a escalas mayores (i. e., sitios prioritarios para la conservación de la biodiversidad), los límites son muy gruesos como para definir metas de conservación prácticas. La refinación de la conservación de sitios prioritarios significa la identificación de localidades específicas (parches de hábitat individuales) de tamaño y escala realistas para ser protegidos por gestores y apoyados por políticos. Debido a que los sitios prioritarios han perdido la mayor parte de su hábitat original, las especies endémicas dependen del que permanece. Ahora el asunto es identificar donde están el hábitat y las especies. Logramos lo anterior mediante técnicas directas de percepción remota y de SIG para identificar localidades específicas importantes para la conservación de aves en el sitio prioritario Bosque del Atlántico en Brasil. Nuestro método requiere de un mapa regional de la cobertura forestal actual, así que exploramos seis productos populares para el mapeo y cuantificación de bosques: campos continuos MODIS y una cobertura de suelo MODIS (productos preclasificados), AVHRR, SPOT VGT, MODIS (imágenes de satélite) y un mosaico GeoCover Landsat thematic mapper (jpg). Comparamos subconjuntos de estas coberturas forestales con las de un mapa basado en un Landsat enhanced thematic mapper. La cobertura forestal SPOT VGT predijo bien la superficie y localización del bosque, así que lo combinamos con datos de altitud para refinar los mapas generales de distribución de aves endémicas de bosques. La sobreposición de estos mapas de distribución permitió la identificación de la subregión más rica en aves amenazadas,los bosques en bajíos del Estado de Río de Janeiro. Dimos relevancia a ocho fragmentos prioritarios, con atención en uno con imágenes de resolución fina para estudio en detalle. Este método permite la priorización de áreas para conservación de fragmentos de decenas de kilómetros cuadrados en una región >1 millón km2. La información biológica general es suficiente para definir prioridades de conservación de la biodiversidad. Por lo tanto, nuestro método es atractivo para localidades tropicales y biológicamente ricas, para las que la información sobre la ocalización de las especies es escasa. [source]

    The implications of data selection for regional erosion and sediment yield modelling

    Joris de Vente
    Abstract Regional environmental models often require detailed data on topography, land cover, soil, and climate. Remote sensing derived data form an increasingly important source of information for these models. Yet, it is often not easy to decide what the most feasible source of information is and how different input data affect model outcomes. This paper compares the quality and performance of remote sensing derived data for regional soil erosion and sediment yield modelling with the WATEM-SEDEM model in south-east Spain. An ASTER-derived digital elevation model (DEM) was compared with the DEM obtained from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and land cover information from the CORINE database (CLC2000) was compared with classified ASTER satellite images. The SRTM DEM provided more accurate estimates of slope gradient and upslope drainage area than the ASTER DEM. The classified ASTER images provided a high accuracy (90%) land cover map, and due to its higher resolution, it showed a more fragmented landscape than the CORINE land cover data. Notwithstanding the differences in quality and level of detail, CORINE and ASTER land cover data in combination with the SRTM DEM or ASTER DEM allowed accurate predictions of sediment yield at the catchment scale. Although the absolute values of erosion and sediment deposition were different, the qualitative spatial pattern of the major sources and sinks of sediments was comparable, irrespective of the DEM and land cover data used. However, due to its lower accuracy, the quantitative spatial pattern of predictions with the ASTER DEM will be worse than with the SRTM DEM. Therefore, the SRTM DEM in combination with ASTER-derived land cover data presumably provide most accurate spatially distributed estimates of soil erosion and sediment yield. Nevertheless, model calibration is required for each data set and resolution and validation of the spatial pattern of predictions is urgently needed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Determining prey distribution patterns from stomach-contents of satellite-tracked high-predators of the Southern Ocean

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2006
    J. C. Xavier
    The distribution of many cephalopod, crustacean and fish species in the Southern Ocean, and adjacent waters, is poorly known, particularly during times of the year when research surveys are rare. Analysing the stomach samples of satellite-tracked higher predators has been advocated as a potential method by which such gaps in knowledge can be filled. We examined the viability of this approach through monitoring wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans at their colony on Bird Island, South Georgia (54°S, 38°W) over the winters (May,July) of 1999 and 2000. At this time, these birds foraged in up to three different water-masses, the Antarctic zone (AZ), the sub-Antarctic zone (SAZ) and the sub-Tropical zone (STZ), which we defined by contemporaneous satellite images of sea surface temperature. A probabilistic model was applied to the tracking and diet data collected from 38 birds to construct a large-scale map of where various prey were captured. Robustness/sensitivity analyses were used to test model assumptions on the time spent foraging and relative catch efficiencies and to evaluate potential biases associated with the model. We were able to predict the distributions of a wide number of cephalopod, crustacean of fish species. We also discovered some of the limitations to using this type of data and proposed ways to rectify these problems. [source]

    Integrating remote sensing in fisheries control

    Abstract, To complement existing fishery control measures, in particular the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), a pilot operational system to find fishing vessels in satellite images was set up. Radar is the mainstay of the system, which furthermore includes fully automated image processing and communication protocols with the authorities. Different image types are used to match different fisheries , oceanic, shelf and coastal. Vessel detection rates were 75,100% depending on image type and vessel size. Output of the system, in the form of an overview of vessel positions in the area highlighting any discrepancies with otherwise reported positions, can be at the authorities within 30 min of the satellite image being taken , fast enough to task airborne inspection for follow up. [source]

    The relationship between the skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) fishery and seasonal temperature variability in the south-western Atlantic

    H. A. Andrade
    Abstract The spatio-temporal distribution of tuna fishing effort has been related to oceanographic circulation and features in several seas of the world. Understanding the relationship between environmental variables and fishery resource dynamics is important for management decisions and to improve fishery yields. The relationship between sea temperature variability and the pole-and-line skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) fishery in the south-western Atlantic Ocean was investigated in this work. Data from logbooks, satellite images (sea surface temperature), and oceanographic surveys were used in the analyses. Skipjack are caught in warm tropical waters of the Brazil Current (BC). The north,south displacement of fishing effort was strongly associated to seasonal variation of the surface temperature, which was coupled to the tropical BC flow. Oceanographic fronts from autumn to spring and a shallow thermocline in summer probably induces the aggregation of skipjack schools over the shelfbreak, favouring fishing operations. Hypotheses are proposed to explain the relationship between peaks of fishing events and the presence of topographic peculiarities of the shelfbreak. [source]

    Utilization of laser range finder and differential GPS for high-resolution topographic measurement at Hacitu,rul Tepe, Turkey

    Yuichi S. Hayakawa
    Topographic maps are fundamental for geoarchaeological field studies and archaeological excavations. However, traditional methods of topographic mapping, as well as modern high-tech methods such as airborne laser scanning and photogrammetry of high-resolution satellite images, are often cost-ineffective for field studies in terms of time, money, and labor. We here propose a method to measure topography for archaeological sites and surrounding areas quickly and accurately, using a laser range finder (LRF) and differential global positioning system DGPS. Three-dimensional coordinates of points on land surfaces are measured through the LRF, targeted from multiple measuring locations whose positions are acquired with the DGPS. The point data are then interpolated to produce a digital elevation model (DEM) using a geographic information system (GIS). High-resolution DEMs can be obtained with this method, with horizontal and vertical accuracies on the order of 10 cm. We here demonstrate the method for measuring detailed topography of the Hacitu,rul Tepe in central Turkey. Digital topography data incorporated in GIS can also be part of an archaeological database, providing opportunities for quantitative analyses of topography and archaeological materials. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. [source]

    Debris-covered Glaciers and Rock Glaciers in the Nanga Parbat Himalaya, Pakistan

    John F. Shroder
    The origin and mobilization of the extensive debris cover associated with the glaciers of the Nanga Parbat Himalaya is complex. In this paper we propose a mechanism by which glaciers can form rock glaciers through inefficiency of sediment transfer from glacier ice to meltwater. Inefficient transfer is caused by various processes that promote plentiful sediment supply and decrease sediment transfer potential. Most debris-covered glaciers on Nanga Parbat with higher velocities of movement and/ or efficient debris transfer mechanisms do not form rock glaciers, perhaps because debris is mobilized quickly and removed from such glacier systems. Those whose ice movement activity is lower and those where inefficient sediment transfer mechanisms allow plentiful debris to accumulate, can form classic rock glaciers. We document here with maps, satellite images, and field observations the probable evolution of part of a slow and inefficient ice glacier into a rock glacier at the margins of Sachen Glacier in c. 50 years, as well as several other examples that formed in a longer period of time. Sachen Glacier receives all of its nourishment from ice and snow avalanches from surrounding areas of high relief, but has low ice velocities and no efficient system of debris removal. Consequently it has a pronounced digitate terminus with four lobes that have moved outward from the lateral moraines as rock glaciers with prounced transverse ridges and furrows and steep fronts at the angle of repose. Raikot Glacier has a velocity five times higher than Sachen Glacier and a thick cover of rock debris at its terminus that is efficienctly removed. During the advance stage of the glacier since 1994, ice cliffs were exposed at the terminus, and an outbreak flood swept away much debris from its margins and terminus. Like the Sachen Glacier that it resembles, Shaigiri Glacier receives all its nourishment from ice and snow avalanches and has an extensive debris cover with steep margins close to the angle of repose. It has a high velocity similar to Raikot Glacier and catastrophic breakout floods have removed debris from its terminus twice in the recent past. In addition, the Shaigiri terminus blocked the Rupal River during the Little Ice Age and is presently being undercut and steepened by the river. With higher velocities and more efficient sediment transfer systems, neither the Raikot nor the Shaigiri form classic rock-glacier morphologies. [source]

    Diversity and species composition of West African ungulate assemblages: effects of fire, climate and soil

    GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 6 2008
    Erik Klop
    ABSTRACT Aim, Anthropogenic fires are a major component of the ecology of rangelands throughout the world. To assess the effects of these fires on the diversity patterns of herbivores, we related gradients in fire occurrence, climate and soil fertility to patterns in alpha and beta diversity of African ungulates. Location, West Africa. Methods, We used a survey-based approach for ungulates in 37 protected areas in desert, savanna and rain forest habitats throughout West Africa, combined with satellite images of fire occurrence and digital maps of actual evapotranspiration and soil fertility. Alpha diversity was related to the environmental variables using conventional and spatial regression models. We investigated beta diversity using partial Mantel tests and ordination techniques, and by partitioning the variance in assemblage composition into environmental and spatial components. Results, The species richness of grazers showed a quadratic relationship with actual evapotranspiration, whereas that of browsers and frugivores showed a linear relationship. However, in the multiple regression models fire occurrence was the only variable that significantly correlated with the species richness of grazers. Soil fertility was weakly related to overall beta diversity and the species richness of browsers, but was non-significant in the multiple regression models. Fire occurrence was the most important variable explaining species composition of the overall species set and of grazers, whereas the assemblage composition of browsers and frugivores was explained mostly by actual evapotranspiration. Main conclusions, In contrast to previous studies, our analyses show that moisture and nutrients alone fail to adequately predict the diversity patterns of grazing ungulates. Rather, the species richness and assemblage composition of grazers are largely governed by anthropogenic fires that modify the quality and structure of the grass sward. Diversity patterns of browsers and frugivores are markedly different from grazers and depend mainly on the availability of moisture, which is positively correlated with the availability of foliage and fruits. Our study highlights the importance of incorporating major human-induced disturbances or habitat alterations into analyses of diversity patterns. [source]

    Modelling lake stage and water balance of Lake Tana, Ethiopia

    Yirgalem A. Chebud
    Abstract The level of Lake Tana, Ethiopia, fluctuates annually and seasonally following the patterns of changes in precipitation. In this study, a mass balance approach is used to estimate the hydrological balance of the lake. Water influx from four major rivers, subsurface inflow from the floodplains, precipitation, outflow from the lake constituting river discharge and evapotranspiration from the lake are analysed on monthly and annual bases. Spatial interpolation of precipitation using rain gauge data was conducted using kriging. Outflow from the lake was identified as the evaporation from the lake's surface as well as discharge at the outlet where the Blue Nile commences. Groundwater inflow is estimated using MODular three-dimensional finite-difference ground-water FLOW model software that showed an aligned flow pattern to the river channels. The groundwater outflow is considered negligible based on the secondary sources that confirmed the absence of lake water geochemical mixing outside of the basin. Evaporation is estimated using Penman's, Meyer's and Thornwaite's methods to compare the mass balance and energy balance approaches. Meteorological data, satellite images and temperature perturbation simulations from Global Historical Climate Network of National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration are employed for estimation of evaporation input parameters. The difference of the inflow and outflow was taken as storage in depth and compared with the measured water level fluctuations. The study has shown that the monthly and annually calculated lake level replicates the observed values with root mean square error value of 0·17 and 0·15 m, respectively. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Assessment of land-use impact on streamflow via a grid-based modelling approach including paddy fields

    Seong Joon Kim
    Abstract To investigate the hydrologic impacts of land-use changes on streamflow for an urbanizing watershed with paddy fields, a grid-based daily hydrologic model was adopted. The model was calibrated with two years (2000,2001) of observed streamflow data and validated using 5 months (2001) of measured soil moisture data and 1 year (2002) of observed streamflow data. After the model was tested, it was run to estimate impacts of urbanization on each hydrologic component with the land-use data sets for 1986, 1994, and 2002 generated from Landsat TM satellite images. Total runoff increased from 41·4% (1986) to 44·9% (2002) for a 5·4% increase in urban area, implying that direct runoff increase exceeded baseflow decrease. Urbanization affected the proportions of direct runoff for each land-use category more than the change in total runoff and the ratio of direct runoff to total runoff. The change proportions in direct runoff for urban areas, paddy fields, and forest were 14·3%, ,9·8% and ,6·7% respectively for a 5·4% increase, 4·6% decrease and 3·4% decrease in each land-use area respectively. The results indicate that paddy fields play an important role in runoff regulation, and the evaluation method can assist regional policy makers in developing land management strategies that minimize hydrologic impacts on streamflow. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Mapping snow characteristics based on snow observation probability

    Bahram Saghafian
    Abstract Measurement/estimation of snow water equivalent (SWE) is a difficult task in water resources studies of snowy regions. SWE point data is measured at snow courses that are normally operated with low density owing to high costs and great difficulty in reaching the stations in cold seasons. Moreover, snow is known to exhibit high spatial variability, which makes SWE studies based solely on sparse station data more uncertain. Ever-increasing availability of satellite images is a promising tool to overcome some of the difficulties associated with analyzing spatial variability of snow. Although National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite images have low spatial resolution with approximately 1.1-km pixel size, they are adequate for mapping snow cover at regional scales and enjoy a moderate length of record period. In this paper, rain and snow records of synoptic stations and the time series of NOAA-based snow cover maps were used to map average SWE of a vast area in southwestern Iran. First, monthly and annual snow coefficient (SC) at synoptic stations were determined on the basis of analysis of hourly observation of type and amount of precipitation. Then, two new spatially distributed snow characteristics were introduced, namely, average frequency of snow observation (FSO) and monthly frequency of maximum snow observation (FMSO), on the basis of existing satellite snow observations. FSO and monthly FMSO maps were prepared by a geographic information system on the basis of snow map time series. Correlation of these two parameters with SC was studied and spatial distribution of SC was estimated on the basis of the best correlation. Moreover, the distribution of mean annual precipitation was derived by comparing a number of interpolation methods. SWE map was generated by multiplying SC and precipitation maps and its spatial variability in the region was analyzed. Copyright © 2007 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

    Economic analysis of small photovoltaic facilities and their regional differences

    M. Varela
    Abstract Small grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) facilities in Spain receive either a premium of 0.36, kWh,1 over the average price on the power market or a fixed price of 0.40, kWh,1. However, legislation on this matter (Royal Decree 2818/98) requires a periodic review of these figures. The basis of on-going revision of these prices has been their profitability. However, the economic success of such PV facilities is clearly affected by the amount of solar radiation at the site where they are located. Since Spain is between latitudes 44 and 36° in the northern hemisphere, the feasibility of these systems must be analysed for different regions. Two different models have been used to produce the required input data for such an analysis: a model that generates typical solar radiation years and temperatures taken from satellite images and an empirical model for the prediction of daily power produced by a grid-connected photovoltaic system. From the results of this regional economic analysis, it may be concluded that the existing prices are insufficient in and of themselves to make these small grid-connected systems profitable anywhere in Spain. To guarantee the economic feasibility of these PV installations in any given location, the fixed price paid for the electricity should be around 0.93, kWh,1. Nevertheless, if the Government were to double the current fixed price, in consideration of the slow increase in the PV market in recent years, this would mean that small grid-connected installations would become profitable in at least 77% of the Spanish territory. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Satellite image segmentation using hybrid variable genetic algorithm

    Mohamad M. Awad
    Abstract Image segmentation is an important task in image processing and analysis. Many segmentation methods have been used to segment satellite images. The success of each method depends on the characteristics of the acquired image such as resolution limitations and on the percentage of imperfections in the process of image acquisition due to noise. Many of these methods require a priori knowledge which is difficult to obtain. Some of them are parametric statistical methods that use many parameters which are dependent on image property. In this article, a new unsupervised nonparametric method is developed to segment satellite images into homogeneous regions without any a priori knowledge. The new method is called hybrid variable genetic algorithm (HVGA). The variability is found in the variable number of cluster centers and in the changeable mutation rate. In addition, this new method uses different heuristic processes to increase the efficiency of genetic algorithm in avoiding local optimal solutions. Experiments performed on two different satellite images (Landsat and Spot) proved the high accuracy and efficiency of HVGA compared with another two unsupervised and nonparametric segmentation methods genetic algorithm (GA) and self-organizing map (SOM). The verification of the results included stability and accuracy measurements using an evaluation method implemented from the functional model (FM) and field surveys. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Imaging Syst Technol, 19, 199,207, 2009 [source]

    Relationships between expanding pinyon,juniper cover and topography in the central Great Basin, Nevada

    Bethany A. Bradley
    Abstract Aim, Increasing geographical range and density of conifers is a major form of land-cover change in the western United States, affecting fire frequency, biogeochemistry and possibly biodiversity. However, the extent and magnitude of the change are uncertain. This study aimed to quantify the relationship between changing conifer cover and topography. Location, The central Great Basin in the state of Nevada, USA. Methods, We used a series of Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite images from 1986, 1995 and 2005 to map change in pinyon,juniper woodlands (Pinus monophylla, Juniperus spp.) in the montane central Great Basin of Nevada. We derived fractional greenness for each year using spectral mixture analysis and identified all areas with an above average increase in greenness from 1986 to 1995 and 1995 to 2005. Results, Areas with high fractional greenness in 2005 were most likely to occur at elevations between 2200 and 2600 m a.s.l. Increases in fractional greenness between 1986 and 2005 were most likely to occur at elevations below 2000 m a.s.l. and on south-facing slopes. However, relationships between elevation and increasing greenness for individual mountain ranges varied considerably from the average trend. Fractional greenness values measured by Landsat suggest that the majority of pinyon,juniper woodlands have not reached their maximum potential tree cover. Main conclusions, Expansion of pinyon,juniper at low elevations and on south-facing slopes probably reflects increasing precipitation in the 20th century, higher water use efficiency caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 in the late 20th century and livestock grazing at the interface between shrubland and woodland. Identification of the spatial relationships between changing fractional greenness of pinyon,juniper woodland and topography can inform regional land management and improve projections of long-term ecosystem change. [source]

    The riverscape of Western Amazonia , a quantitative approach to the fluvial biogeography of the region

    Tuuli Toivonen
    Abstract Aim, To provide a quantitative spatial analysis of the riverscape (open-water bodies and their surrounding areas) of the Western Amazonian lowlands using a consistent surface of remotely sensed imagery. Taking into account the essential significance of fluvial environments for the Amazonian biota, we propose that an enhanced understanding of the Amazonian riverscape will provide new insight for biogeographical studies in the region and contribute to the understanding of these megadiverse tropical lowlands. Location, An area of 2.2 million km2 covering the Western Amazonian lowlands of the Andean foreland region, i.e. the upper reaches of the Amazon river system. Areas in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia between longitudes 83 °W and 65 °W and latitudes 5 °N and 12 °S are included. Methods, A mosaic of 120 Landsat TM satellite images was created with 100-m resolution, and water areas of over 1 ha in size or c. 60 m in width were extracted using a simple ratio threshold applicable to a large set of data. With this method, 99.1% of the water areas present in 30-m imagery were mapped with images with 100-m resolution. Water pixels of distinct river segments were assigned to river classes on the basis of their channel properties, and islands and lakes were distinguished separately and classified. Measures of water patterns such as structure, composition, richness and remoteness were provided for various spatial units. Riverine corridors were computed from the open-water mask by outer limits of active channels and floodplain lakes. Analytical results are shown as both thematic maps and statistics. Results, A total of 1.1% of Western Amazonia is covered by open-water bodies over 1 ha in size or 60 m in width. River-bound waters comprise 98% of the total water surface. Whilst isolated lakes are scarce, river-bound oxbow and backchannel lakes are plentiful, comprising 17.5% of all waters. They are particularly frequent along meandering channels, which dominate both in area and length. The riverine corridors including active channels and floodplain lakes cover 17% of the land area. The average distance from any point of land to the nearest water is 12 km. Geographically speaking, the distribution of waters is uneven across the region, and the detailed characteristics of the riverscape are geographically highly variable. Three major, fluvially distinct regions can be identified: central Western Amazonia, the south, and the north-east. The proportional surface areas of the riverine corridors, numbers of lakes, sizes of islands and their distributions depend largely on the types and sizes of the rivers. Main conclusions, Our results support the notion of Western Amazonia as a dynamic, highly fluvial environment, highlighting and quantifying considerable internal variation within the region in terms of fluvial patterns and the processes that they reflect and control. Biogeographically, the variety of types of fluvial environments and their characteristics are important constituents of what influences the distribution of species and dynamics of terrestrial habitats. Spatially consistent riverscape data can serve as a consistent and scalable source of relevant information for other biogeographical approaches in the region. [source]

    Prediction of Prosopis species invasion in Kenya using geographical information system techniques

    Gabriel M. Muturi
    Abstract Tree species from Prosopis genus were widely planted for rehabilitation of degraded drylands of Kenya. However, they have invaded riverine ecosystems where they cause negative socio-economic and ecological impacts. GIS was used to estimate the reverine area threatened by Prosopis invasion in Kenya. Landsat satellite images, field surveys and past studies were also used to assess the resulting potential ecological impacts in the Turkwel ecosystem in Kenya. The study revealed that 3.0 to 27.7 million hectares are threatened by invasion, based on documented riverine forests width of 0.5,3 km. Image analysis showed that 34% of the sites under positive change were invaded, with most invasions occurring in natural forests and abandoned farms. Prosopis had overall occurrence of 39% in all the sampled sites in 2007, in contrast to 0% in 1990 that was reported in an earlier study. In these areas, Acacia tortilis occurrence dropped from 81% in 1990 to 43% in 2007, suggesting that Prosopis could be displacing it. Utilization of Prosopis for fodder, fuel wood and pods for animal feeds is recommended as a management tool to reverse the trend. The methods used in this study are also recommended for invasion prediction and management in other similar ecosystems. Résumé Pour la réhabilitation de zones arides dégradées au Kenya, on a abondamment planté trois espèces de Prosopis. Cependant, elles ont envahi des écosystèmes riverains où elles ont des impacts socioéconomiques et écologiques négatifs. On a utilisé un SIG pour estimer la superficie riveraine menacée par l'invasion des Prosopis au Kenya. Des images satellite Landsat, des études sur le terrain et les résultats de travaux antérieurs ont aussi été utilisés pour évaluer les éventuels impacts écologiques dans l'écosystème de Turkwel. L'étude a révélé qu'entre 3,0 et 27,7 millions d'hectares sont menacés d'invasion, si l'on se base sur la largeur de forêt riveraine documentée, qui est de 0,5 à 3 km. L'analyse des images a montré que 34% des sites en mutation positive étaient envahis, et que la plupart des invasions touchaient des forêts naturelles et des exploitations agricoles abandonnées. Les Prosopis avaient un taux d'occurrence global de 39% dans tous les sites échantillonnés en 2007, à comparer avec le chiffre de 0% rapporté en 1990 par une étude antérieure. Dans ces zones, la présence d'Acacia tortilis a chuté de 81% en 1990 à 43% en 2007, ce qui laisse penser que Prosopis pourrait être responsable de ce déplacement. On recommande d'utiliser Prosopis comme fourrage et bois de feu et de donner les gousses au bétail, ce qui serait une façon de les gérer pour inverser la tendance. Les méthodes utilisées dans cette étude sont aussi recommandées pour prédire et gérer les invasions dans des écosystèmes comparables. [source]

    Prediction and verification of possible reef-fish spawning aggregation sites in Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela

    J. Boomhower
    This study attempts to predict and verify possible spawning aggregation sites and times in the Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela, based on physical reef characteristics and the knowledge of experienced local fishermen. Three possible aggregation sites were selected for monitoring based on satellite images, low-cost bathymetric mapping and interviews with experienced local fishermen. Abundances and sizes of 18 species that are known to form reproductive aggregations were monitored at these sites using underwater visual census for 7 days after each full moon from February to August, 2007. While spawning events were not observed, possible indirect evidence of spawning aggregations was found for Lutjanus analis at Cayo Sal and Boca de Sebastopol, Lutjanus apodus at Cayo Sal, Lutjanus cyanopterus at Cayo Sal and Piedra La Guasa and Epinephelus guttatus at Bajo California and Cayo de Agua. Additionally, indirect evidence was identified for the past existence of a spawning aggregation of Epinephelus striatus in the northern part of the archipelago, which may have been eliminated by overfishing c.15 years ago. Bathymetric mapping showed that the shelf edge at sites monitored in this study was shallower than at spawning aggregation sites in other parts of the Caribbean, and that sites were not proximal to deep water. While this study does not prove the existence or locations of spawning aggregations of reef fishes in the archipelago, it does add insight to a growing understanding of generalities in the relationship between seafloor characteristics and the locations of transient reef-fish spawning aggregations in the Caribbean. [source]

    Rangeland development of the Mu Us Sandy Land in semiarid China: an analysis using Landsat and NOAA remote sensing data

    M. C. Runnström
    Abstract Degradation of the dry semiarid ecosystems in the Mu Us Sandy Land of north central China was explored using high-resolution satellite images from 1978, 1987 and 1996. This study monitored both changes in grassland biomass production and reclamation activities to detect the nature and scale of land degradation since major economic reforms were introduced in 1978. The position of the high-resolution images within the vegetation cycles was inspected from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NDVI images at 10-day repetition and seasonal precipitation patterns. A model was developed to categorize changes in the vegetation signal activity from 30,×,30,m pixels into vegetation cover development and land-use changes between 1987 and 1996. A general increase of biomass production was evident despite the rapid increase in numbers of grazing animals. This increase in biomass was confirmed by the NOAA time series, which also revealed annual variability related to the amount and pattern of the seasonal rains. Rangeland conversion to farmland was detected, and this process has increased the area of cultivation almost fivefold. The classified area of cultivation corresponds with reported statistical records, also showing that irrigation features in virtually 100 per cent of the sown area. Signs of declining biological production, indicating land degradation processes, are few. Biomass production has increased, with a gain in the economic output from both crop and animal production. The early start of active measures to halt desertification has increased vegetation cover and lowered wind erosion potential and grasslands seems to be managing the high levels of grazing pressure. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]