Home Environment & Climate Using remote sensing to map land degradation in Colombia

Using remote sensing to map land degradation in Colombia

Colombia: The Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC) in Colombia is working on elaborating approaches of using remote sensing and GIS for monitoring soil erosion. Reducing land degradation is a major issue for the environment and sustainable development. One of the main goals of the programme consists in mapping the erosion grade (light, moderate, severe and strong) in Colombia on a scale of 1:100.000. This map is being built with RapidEye satellite images trough visual interpretation. This research shows two image processing methods to identify the degree of degradation.

LMSA – LMSA is a precise method for calculating land covers, in this case land degradation. But is necessary to understand this concept and make field trips in order to relate the R and C values. LMSA can be understood as an end-member (spectral signature) that takes into consideration all bands of an optical sensor and therefore allows to make a connection to any coverage.

USLE Equation – USLE is applied based on rainfall erodibility, soil erodibility, topographic and vegetation. In Colombia, there is enough data to estimate the erosivity, topographic and vegetation on a scale of at least 1:100.000. However, there is a major constraint: Studies of soil in Colombia lack the necessary variables to estimate accurately erodibility.

Source: UN-Spider