Remote Sensing and GIS in Mapping and Monitoring of Land Degradation

  • G. P. Obi Reddy
  • Nirmal Kumar
  • S. K. Singh
Part of the Geotechnologies and the Environment book series (GEOTECH, volume 21)


The information on the extent and spatial distribution of various kinds of degraded lands is essential for strategic planning and development of degraded lands. Processes of land degradation can be broadly grouped into physical, chemical, and vegetal (biological) degradation. The physical processes include land degradation mainly due to water and wind erosion, compaction, crusting, and waterlogging. The chemical process includes salinization, alkalization, acidification, pollution, and nutrient depletion. The vegetal or biological processes on the other hand are reduction of organic matter content in the soils and degradation of vegetation. The use of remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) techniques makes land degradation estimation and its spatial distribution feasible with reasonable costs and better accuracy in larger areas. The use of spaceborne multispectral data shown its potential in deriving information on the nature, extent, spatial distribution, and magnitude of various kinds of degraded lands. Assessment and monitoring of land degradation through remote sensing offer a series of advantages such as consistency of data, fairly near real-time reporting, and a source for having spatially explicit data. The integration of high-resolution remote sensing data and digital elevation models derived from satellites data like Cartosat-1 and Cartosat-2 and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) with ground data has immense potential in assessment and monitoring of land degradation in local scales. In this chapter, application of remote sensing and GIS in assessment and mapping of physical, chemical, and vegetal degradation has been discussed. The study indicates that integrated remote sensing and GIS applications have immense potential in assessment, mapping and monitoring of land degradation with reasonable cost and better accuracy in larger areas that would otherwise require large inputs of human and material resources.


Remote sensing Geographic information system Land degradation Physical degradation Chemical degradation Vegetal degradation 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • G. P. Obi Reddy
    • 1
  • Nirmal Kumar
    • 1
  • S. K. Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.ICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use PlanningNagpurIndia

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