Vegetation and land cover change in the National park of EL Kala: Application of NDVI differencing and classification analysis

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Research Paper 01/07/2015
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Vegetation and land cover change in the National park of EL Kala: Application of NDVI differencing and classification analysis

Mouna Khaznadar, Mohammed Fenni
J. Bio. Env. Sci.7( 1), 231-244, July 2015.
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In this study, vegetation and land cover change were investigated in order to understand the nature and dynamic of changes occurred in the National Park of El-Kala (Algeria) between years 2002 and 2013. Landsat images, remote sensing techniques and GIS tools were the key elements to achieve this study. The 2013 NDVI image was subtracted from the 2002 one, and the resulting NDVI differencing image was classified into three categories: positive, negative and no change. Assessment was satisfactory with an overall accuracy of 98.14% and Kappa coefficient of 0.97. Areas affected by vegetation loss are mainly found in the east and south part of the park, whereas areas with vegetation gain are located around water bodies. Regarding land cover change, two unsupervised classifications were applied and seven land cover classes were defined in both images. Based on field knowledge and statistics’ comparison, land cover classes affected by areas’ decrease are Dense forest (-0.96 %), Uncultivated land (-3.99 %) and Barren land (-6.56 %). In contrast, land cover classes with positive change are: Water body (+2.01 %); Open forest (+4.93 %), Cultivated land (+4.45 %) and Urban (+3.66 %). The main causes for these changes are: Expansion of urban tissue and new infrastructures, degradation of dense forests due to human pressures mainly grazing and clearing, intensification of agriculture activities with uncontrolled irrigation and last but not least, forest fires in summers due to long droughts periods and holiday rush.


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