This study focused on the assessment and evaluation of land degradation and desertification in El-Qutaynah area, White Nile State, Sudan. Through monitoring and mapping of the changes that occurred in the land use, land cover (LU/LC) due to drought and sand encroachment in the study area was the main goal of this research. The study covered the period between 1986 to 2006. The research was based on the data and information deduced and extracted from remote sensed landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and landsat enhanced thematic mapper (ETM+) images, in addition to secondary data of geologic and soil maps. Image processing procedures were performed to determine land use/land cover classes for the recent and reference image. The study attempted to update land use/land cover information using different methods of data transformation such as: normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and supervised classification. The study revealed that the extent of cultivated areas and sand was largely increased. However, an increase in vegetation cover was indicated using NDVI images. The study also revealed that both natural environments and human activities witnessed remarkable changes. Sand encroachment has extremely affected the study area. The study proved that remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) are efficient tools in land degradation studies.
Keywords: El-Qutaynah, sand encroachment, geographic information system, remote sensing.
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