African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6688

Review

Remote sensing based indicators of vegetation species for assessing rangeland degradation: Opportunities and challenges

Khalid Mansour1*, Onisimo Mutanga2 and Terry Everson3
1Centre for Environment, Agriculture and Development (CEAD), School of Applied Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, 3209, South Africa. 2Department of Geography, School of Applied Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, 3209, South Africa. 3School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, 3209, South Africa.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 April 2012
  •  Published: 12 June 2012

Abstract

Rangeland degradation is a serious hindrance to sustainable development in degraded areas. Mapping and monitoring vegetation species is an increasingly important issue across various fields of rangeland management. Remote sensing technology is a tool for mapping and monitoring vegetation species and it provides timely and relatively accurate information concerning degradation in biological rangeland resources. The objective of this review was to provide precise and essential information relating to the application of both multispectral and hyperspectral sensors as well as to their limitations with regard to mapping and monitoring rangeland degradation based on the abundance and distribution of vegetation species and algorithms used to process remotely sensed data when classifying these species. The abundance and distribution of the different vegetation species can be used to indicate the gradient level of rangeland degradation. It can be concluded, that up-to-date, spatial information and appropriate processing techniques are essential requirements forextracting increaser and decreaser spectral information that can be used for sustainable rangeland management.

 

Key words: Remote sensing, rangeland degradation, increaser and decreaser species, indicator, vegetation indices.