Integrating Remote Sensing and Spatiotemporal Analysis to Characterize Artificial Vegetation Restoration Suitability in Desert Areas: A Case Study of Mu Us Sandy Land

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Chen Z., Huang M., Xiao C., Qi S., Du W., Zhu D., ...More

REMOTE SENSING, vol.14, no.19, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 19
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/rs14194736
  • Journal Name: REMOTE SENSING
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: desert transformation, artificial vegetation restoration, remote sensing, spatiotemporal analysis, suitability mapping, NORTHERN CHINA, HABITAT SUITABILITY, CLIMATE-CHANGE, DESERTIFICATION, COVER, PERSPECTIVE, TRENDS
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


One of the major barriers to hindering the sustainable development of the terrestrial environment is the desertification process, and revegetation is one of the most significant duties in anti-desertification. Desertification deteriorates land ecosystems through species decline, and remote sensing is becoming the most effective way to monitor desertification. Mu Us Sandy Land is the fifth largest desert and the representative area under manmade vegetation restorations in China. Therefore, it is essential to understand the spatiotemporal characteristics of artificial desert transformation for seeking the optimal revegetation location for future restoration planning. However, there are no previous studies focusing on exploring regular patterns between the spatial distribution of vegetation restoration and human-related geographical features. In this study, we use Landsat satellite data from 1986 to 2020 to achieve annual monitoring of vegetation change by a threshold segmentation method, and then use spatiotemporal analysis with Open Street Map (OSM) data to explore the spatiotemporal distribution pattern between vegetation occurrence and human-related features. We construct an artificial vegetation restoration suitability index (AVRSI) by considering human-related features and topographical factors, and we assess artificial suitability for vegetation restoration by mapping methods based on that index and the vegetation distribution pattern. The AVRSI can be commonly used for evaluating restoration suitability in Sandy areas and it is tested acceptable in Mu Us Sandy Land. Our results show during this period, the segmentation threshold and vegetation area of Mu Us Sandy Land increased at rates of 0.005/year and 264.11 km(2)/year, respectively. Typically, we found the artificial restoration vegetation suitability in Mu Us area spatially declines from southeast to northwest, but eventually increases in the most northwest region. This study reveals the revegetation process in Mu Us Sandy Land by figuring out its spatiotemporal vegetation change with human-related features and maps the artificial revegetation suitability.