Date of Award

12-1-2016

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geography and Environmental Resources

First Advisor

Wang, Guangxing

Abstract

Desertification is a serious threat that damages the environment in many African countries, as a result of climatic factors and population growth. This research, investigated and monitored the dynamics of the desert area in the Republic of Sudan using geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing images. The expansion of desertification in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, Kordofan, and Alshymalia states has, increased rapidly. Many efforts have been committed to understanding its dynamics, causes, and impacts. However, the data are still lacking. In this study Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Normalized Different Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), and Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) images were acquired for the months of July, August, and September (growing seasons of the vegetation in the study area) of the years 2000, 2009, and 2014 respectively. Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data were used to compare and validate the result of MODIS data. Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Spectral Mixture Analysis (SMA) techniques were utilized to produce three classification maps, and to address the issue of the mixed pixel. Post-classification change detection method was used to quantify the change that had occurred in the study area. The results show that the overall classification accuracy for the MODIS data for the year 2000, 2009, and 2014 was 79.52 %, 81.90 %, and 85.76 % respectively, and there was a significant increase in the expansion of the desert area towards the south and southwest of the study area. The temporal period between 2000 and 2009 indicated the greatest conversion of vegetation to desert area. Population growth and climatic changes such as temperature increment and precipitation variation were the major factors that led to the desert expansion. The result of this study will provide the people of Sudan with the information regarding desert area land expansion during the past 14 years, thereby raising awareness about the environmental problem in Sudan.

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