Evaluation of desertification intensity based on quantitative and qualitative changes in groundwater and soil criteria using Madalus model and geostatistical methods

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Arid Zone Management, Faculty of Rangeland and watershed management, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Assessment, Faculty of Fisheries and Environment, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

3 Department of Geosciences and Geography, Faculty of Earth Sciences, The University of Helsinki, Finland


Introduction: Desertification involves processes that are both the product of natural factors and the mismanagement of human beings. Adafic parameters and processes affecting soil condition, climate, groundwater, vegetation and management are the most important factors affecting the phenomenon of desertification in many arid and semi-arid regions. These parameters are investigated using different models in different regions.Therefore, this study was conducted to evaluate the desertification intensity based on groundwater and soil criteria in the west of Golestan province.
Material and methods: To determine the work unit map, topographic, geological, aerial photo interpretation, panchromatic band and multispectral Landsat satellite images and field visits were used. In this study, the Madalus method was used to prepare a map and evaluate the desertification situation. The geostatistical methods used in this research include kriging method, local estimator method (GPI), radial function method (RBF) and distance distance method (IDW). in Madalus model, 6 criteria and 20 indicators were used to evaluate the intensity of desertification. The scoring of each of the indicators was determined at the unit level in the region. The map of each criterion is also obtained through the geometric mean relationship between the indicators. To evaluate the accuracy of the model results, the desertification class in each of the work units according to the field evidence, observational and visual evaluation was performed and then the statistical comparison of the model desertification class with an expert opinion was performed. SPSS software and Mann-Whitney non-parametric test were used to validate the model results.
Results and discussion: In this study, according to the histogram of the data, the normality of the parameters was investigated. The mean square squared error (RMSE) was used to determine the most appropriate interpolation method. The weighted average score of desertification intensity of area 135 was obtained, which indicates the middle class. In terms of zoning of desertification intensity, the region was classified into three classes: low and insignificant with a frequency of 27 and medium with a frequency of 60 and severe with a frequency of 13. Among the criteria of desertification, the criterion of management and policy with an average weight of 148 points is the dominant and effective criterion of desertification, followed by the criterion of vegetation (145), the criterion of soil (141), the criterion of erosion (138), the criterion of climate. (122) and groundwater criteria (121) were in the next rank of effective desertification criteria in the region. Also, the most important indicators of desertification are the indicators of drought resistance, conservation operations and soil salinity, respectively. These indicators have increased the trend of desertification in the work units of abandoned lands, saline and wetland lands and saline lands located in the northeastern parts of the region.
Based on the spatial distribution of classes with low and insignificant desertification intensity in the southern and eastern part of the region, the middle class in the western, central and northern parts and finally the severe desertification class are located in the northeastern parts of the region.
Conclusion: According to the obtained results, which indicate high evapotranspiration of the region, expansion of land salinity, unprincipled road construction and incomplete drainage.it seems that the management of desertification in the west of Golestan province, as one of the agricultural hubs, should be in the managerial priority of the officials and experts of the executive departments.Accordingly, it is proposed in order to control the process of desertification and achieve sustainable development in the region .treatment of industrial and domestic effluents for reuse for various purposes, Use of modern irrigation systems for agricultural lands, Placing low-yield crops in terms of water consumption in the region's crop rotation and As well as the necessary training to justify farmers to use pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the area.


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