Use of Remote Sensing Data in Assessment Land Cover Changes, Land Use Patterns and Land Capabilities in Al-Qassim Region, Saudi Arabia
The Qassim region of central Saudi Arabia is one of the most important agricultural regions in the country especially for date cultivation. In the present study, Land sat TM and ETM+ data for the period 1999-2013 are used to study the land use, land cover changes in the area. Satellite images from path/row 168/042 constitute the study area. Three major land use/land cover classes are considered: hilly areas (364,407 ha), vegetated land (1,776,698 ha), and sand dunes (1,523,669 ha). The vegetated land constitutes the class 1, which is comprised of the wades mainly devoted used for for date production. Sand dunes are designated the class 11 and covered a large portion of the study area whereas the Hilly areas are unproductive and constitute as class 111.The vegetative land are surrounded by sand dune which is the most fragile system of the area and leads to damage some productive lands in the area. It is necessitates to study the area for suitable land management practices and for possible approach to stop the sand drifting or sand encroachment in the area.
The land use capabilities classification of the study area includes three main classes: LUC I, LUCII, and LUC III. Slopes ranging between 0°and 20°correspond to areas that areflat, gently undulating, undulating, rolling, strongly rolling, moderately steep and steep, respectively. The slope categories dictate the usage patterns of the lands in the study area, which range from suitable to unsuitable to productive lands.
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