Land Degradation and Soil Erosion Mapping in a Mediterranean Ecosystem

  • Joachim Hill
  • Wolfgang Mehl
  • Michael Altherr
Part of the Eurocourses: Remote Sensing book series (EURS, volume 4)


The degradation of the permanent semi-natural vegetation and the resulting acceleration of soil degradation and erosion constitute important elements of land degradation processes in the Mediterranean basin. Under the European Commission’s DGXII “Research and Development Programme in the Field of the Environment“, the need for identifying, mapping and controlling such desertification phenomena is expressed, and the Joint Research Centre has initiated the development remote sensing-based of methods for detection and repeated monitoring of soil and vegetation characteristics.

In this paper we present an approach for mapping soil conditions and erosion features from hyperspectral images. It requires radiometric rectification of the multi-spectral data and the availability of spectral libraries, before linear spectral mixture modelling is used to decompose image spectra into spectrally distinct mixing components. The resulting abundance estimates (fractions) then permit to identify soil conditions and erosion features, and to obtain an improved measure of vegetation cover. Our results suggest that this approach holds some potential for operational applications, including monitoring of erosion processes and changes in vegetation cover which are important elements for desertification monitoring.


Green Vegetation Iron Oxide Content Spectral Mixture Analysis Spectral Unmixing Soil Reflectance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© ECSC, EEC, EAEC, Brussels and Luxembourg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Hill
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Mehl
    • 1
  • Michael Altherr
    • 1
  1. 1.Commission of the European Communities Joint Research CentreInstitute for Remote Sensing ApplicationsIspra (Va)Italy

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