Title: Mediterranean Desertification and Land Degradation - Mapping Related Land Use Change Syndromes Based on Satellite Observations
Authors: HILL J.STELLMES M.UDELHOVEN Th.ROEDER A.SOMMER STEFAN
Citation: GLOBAL AND PLANETARY CHANGE vol. 64 no. 3-4 p. 146-157
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Publication Year: 2008
JRC Publication N°: JRC45576
ISSN: 0921-8181
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.10.005
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC45576
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.10.005
Type: Articles in Journals
Abstract: Abstract In past decades, the European Mediterranean has undergone widespread land use transformations. These are largely driven by changes of socio-economic frameworks, such as accession to the European Community, and had strong effects on the way the land is being used. Aiming at a systematic description of change processes on a global level, the syndrome concept was proposed to describe archetypical, co-evolutionary patterns of civilization-nature interactions (Schellnhuber et al. 1997), and has been specifically linked to the desertification issue by Downing and LUdeke (2002). In this study, we present an adaptation of the syndrome approach to the Iberian Peninsula. We suggest a data processing and interpretation framework to map the spatial extension of specific syndromes for areas occupied by natural and semi-natural vegetation. The mapping approach is based on the time series analysis of satellite data. We have characterized vegetation dynamics using NDVI estimates from the coarse scale, hypertemporal 1km MEDOKADS archive, which is based on calibrated NOAA-AVHRR images. Results indicate that local patches of abrupt disturbance, mainly by fire, are contrasted by a widespread increase in biomass, which is in large parts attributed to the abandonment of rural areas. Although this questions the dominance of classical desertification traits, i.e. decline after disturbance, it is concluded that the recent greening presents a new degradation phenomenon as it may negatively impact on fire regimes and the hydrological cycle. Keywords: Mediterranean desertification and land degradation, global change syndromes, remote sensing, time series analysis, NOAA-AVHRR
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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