Land Resources and Land Use

Risk Assessment of Vegetation Degradation Using Geographic Information System: A Case Study of Qareh Aghaj Basin, Iran

  • Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shirza 7144165186, Iran

Received date: 2017-11-10

  Revised date: 2018-05-10

  Online published: 2018-09-30

Supported by

The authors are thankful to the Government Offices of Iran for providing the data, maps and reports for this risk assessment work.


The entire land of Southern Iran faces problems arising out of various types of land degradation of which vegetation degradation forms one of the major types. The Qareh Aghaj basin (1 265 000 ha), which covers the upper reaches of Mond River, has been chosen for a test risk assessment of this type. The different kinds of data for indicators of vegetation degradation were gathered from the records and published reports of the governmental offices of Iran. A new model has been developed for assessing the risk of vegetation degradation. Taking into consideration nine indicators of vegetation degradation the model identifies areas with “Potential Risk” (risky zones) and areas of “Actual Risk” as well as projects the probability of the worse degradation in future. The preparation of risk maps based on the GIS analysis of these indicators will be helpful for prioritizing the areas to initiate remedial measures. By fixing the thresholds of severity classes of the nine indicators a hazard map for each indicator was first prepared in GIS. The risk classes were defined on the basis of risk scores arrived at by assigning the appropriate attributes to the indicators and the risk map was prepared by overlaying nine hazard maps in the GIS. Areas under actual risk have been found to be widespread (78%) in the basin and when the risk map classified into subclasses of potential risk with different probability levels the model projects a statistical picture of the risk of vegetation degradation.

Cite this article

Masoud MASOUDI, Parviz JOKAR . Risk Assessment of Vegetation Degradation Using Geographic Information System: A Case Study of Qareh Aghaj Basin, Iran[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2018 , 9(5) : 477 -483 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.05.004


[1] Ahmadi H, Abbas Abadi MR, Onagh M, et al.2001. Quantitative assessment of desertification in Aghqalla and Gomishan Plain for creation of a regional model.Iranian Journal of Natural Resources, 54(1): 3-22.
[2] Babaie Kafaky S, Mataji A, Ahmadi Sani N.2009. Ecological Capability Assessment for Multiple-Use in Forest Areas Using GIS- Based Multiple Criteria Decision Making Approach.American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 5(6): 714-721.
[3] Barzani MM, Khairulmaini OS.2013. Desertification risk mapping of the Zayandeh Rood Basin in Iran.Earth System Science, 122(5): 1269-1282.
[4] Bridges EM, Hannam ID, Oldeman LR, et al.2001. Response to land degradation. Science publishers, INC, 510.
[5] Chen B, Liu H, Lau MTS.2010. Grazing and growth responses of a marine oligotrichous ciliate fed with two nanoplankton: Does food quality matter for micrograzers?Aquatic Sciences, 44: 113-119.
[6] FAO.1994. Land degradation in South Asia: its severity causes and effects upon the people. FAO, UNDP and UNEP: Rome.
[7] FAO/UNEP.1984. Provisional methodology for assessment and mapping of desertification. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 84p.
[8] Filho C, Cochrane TA, Norton LD, et al.2001.Land degradation assessment: Tools and techniques for measuring sediment load. 3rd International conference on land degradation and meeting of the IUSS submission C—soil and water conservation, September 17-21, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
[9] Jafari R, Bakhshandehmehr L.2013. Quantitative mapping and assessment of environmentally sensitive areas to desertification in central Iran.Land Degradation & Development, 27(2): 108-119.
[10] Jamab.1999. Report of general study on the Mond Basin. Jamab Company. Ministry of Energy, Iran.
[11] Kharin NG.1986. Desertification assessment and mapping: a case study of Turkmenistan, USSR.Annals of Arid Zone, 25: 1-17.
[12] Kumar S.1992. Assessment of vegetation degradation: status of methodological research.Annals of Arid Zone, 31: 53-62.
[13] Le Houerou HN, Hoste CH.1977. Rangeland production and annual rainfall relations in the Mediteranianian Basin and in the African Sahelo- Sudanian zone.Journal of Range Management, 30: 181-189.
[14] Liu L, Jing X, Wang J, et al.2009. Analysis of the Changes of Vegetation Coverage of Western Beijing Mountainous Areas Using Remote Sensing and GIS.Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 153: 339-349.
[15] Masoudi M.2010. Risk assessment and remedial measures of land degradation in parts of southern Iran. Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP), Germany.
[16] Masoudi M.2014. Risk Assessment of Vegetation Degradation Using GIS.Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 16: 1711-1722.
[17] Masoudi M, Amiri E.2013. Hazard assessment of current state of vegetation degradation using GIS, a case study: Sadra region, Iran.Journal of Ecology & Environment, 36(1): 49-56.
[18] Masoudi M, Jokar P.2015. Land-use planning using a quantitative model and Geographic Information System (GIS) in Shiraz Township, Iran.ECOPERSIA, 3: 959-974.
[19] Nagafifar.2010. Proposal of a forest physical model for ecological capability evaluation in Zagros vegetation zone (Case study: Masby region, Abdanan city, Ilam province).Iranian Journal of Forest and Poplar Research, 18: 405-416.
[20] Oldeman LR, Hakkeling RTA, Sombroek WG.1991. World map of the status of human-induced soil degradation: an explanatory note. Wageningen International Soil Reference and Information Centre, Nairobi, UNEP, 27p+3 maps. Revised edition.
[21] Pan Jinghu, Li Tianyu.2010. Extracting desertification from Landsat imagery based on spectral mixture analysis and Albedo-Vegetation feature space.Journal of Natural Resources, 25(11): 1960-1969. (in Chinese)
[22] Rasmy M, Gad A, Abdelsalam H, et al.2010. A dynamic simulation model of desertification in Egypt.The Egyptian Journal of Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, 13: 101-111.
[23] Van Lynden GWJ, Oldeman LR.1997. Assessment of the status of human-induced soil degradation in south and Southeast Asia (ASSOD).Wageningen International Soil Reference and Information Centre, 166(3): 91-92.