PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2009, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 55-62.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2009.01.008

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Application of Remote Sensing Technology to Land Desertification Monitoring

LI Yayun1,2, YANG Xiuchun3, ZHU Xiaohua1, XU Bin3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, CAAS, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2008-09-01 Revised:2008-12-01 Online:2009-01-24 Published:2009-01-24


Land desertification has been a worldwide environmental problem. It is also a serious eco-environmental problem in China. Because of the advantage of large amount of information, short cycle and broad scope of data, less restrictions on the human and material resources and so on, remote sensing has become an important technology to monitor land desertification in the past 30 years. Firstly, we summarize the research progress in monitoring land desertification using remote sensing data, including different satellite remote sensing imageries, how to choose the time and bands of the imageries and how to choose the vegetation indexes. Then, we discuss about the methods to extract information of land desertification from remote sensing imageries, which includes artificial visual interpretation, supervised classification, unsupervised classification, hierarchical decision tree classification and neural network classification. Also we comprehensively compare the strength and weaknesses of each method. Furthermore, we analyze the reasons why both computer automatic classification and artificial classification are widely used in monitoring land desertification. We identify the problems in the remote sensing technology application to land desertification monitoring. Finally, we put forward the development prospects in the application of remote sensing to monitoring land desertification, such as the integration of aggregative indicators and methods and so on.

Key words: application, land desertification monitoring, remote sensing technology, research progress