ASSESSMENT OF DESERTIFICATION AND MAPPING IN SOUTHERN NEISHABUR (IRAN) USING MEDALUS METHODM. MASOUDI, S.A. ABTAHI , S.H. BADIEE NAMAGHI , M. KOMPANI AND A.M. SAMENI
This paper presents the MEDALUS approach, a quantitative assessment of desertification, in the case study area located in the South of Neishabur, Iran. Four main factors or indicators of desertification including: soil, climate, plant cover, and management were considered for evaluation. Then several sub-indicators affecting the quality of each main indicator were quantified according to its quality and given a weighting of between 1.0 and 2.0. ArcView software was used to analyze and prepare the layers of quality maps using the geometric mean to integrate the individual sub-indicator maps. After that the final desertification hazard map was prepared by overlaying different main indicator (quality) maps in the GIS and the final hazard classes were defined on the basis of hazard scores arrived at by the geometric mean of the main indicators. The results obtained showed that all of this area can be classified as critical, affected by desertification. In other words, total study area is sensitive to desertification. Results also showed that climate and management quality are the most important indicators affecting desertification process. This undesirable state has been caused by arid climate and also overgrazing and intensity land use. This shows that the human activities play an important role in accelerating desertification process.
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