Investigating the Status of Desertification Vulnerability in Joghatay County, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


department of remotsensing/ geographical and enviromental college, hakim sabzevari university. sabzevar, iran



This study sought to investigate the vulnerability of the Joghatay County, Khorasan Razavi, Iran, to desertification using several remote sensing products. To this end, sixMODISpotential indicators, including enhanced vegetation index (EVI), Vegetation Condition Index (VCI), salinity index (SI), Synthetized Drought Index (SDI), Temperature Condition Index (TCI), and precipitation rate of March 2020,were applied. These layers were then normalized and weighted using the Min-Max approach and Analytical Hierarchy Method, respectively. Finally, the vulnerability map was prepared via the weighted average method. The study’s results indicated that the majority of the study area (67.5%) fell within the low to moderate vulnerability classes. However, the high-risk class area should be taken into account seriously, as  it covers 365 km2 (~21%) (one-fifth) of the whole study area.Moreover, the mountain foothills in the south and north of the area were classified within the high desertification vulnerability class, possessing the lowest vegetation density and highest temperature values. Nonetheless, the central areas with the greatest vegetation density formed the lowest desertification vulnerability as expected. The comparison of the ground truth values (some 200 points of the study area were randomly visited, and each of them was assigned a 0 or1 score)and the rated scores revealed more than 75% compatibility.Therefore, it could be argued that lack of vegetation due to climatic and edaphic measures and anthropogenic factors are responsible for the Joghatay region’s high vulnerability to desertification.


  1. Abdollahi A., Nezhad P. and Pradhan B., 2019a. Determining the desertification risks of the Mashhad regions using integrated indices based on the AHP method, 2019 13th International Conference on Sensing Technology (ICST), pp. 1-6.
  2. Abdollahi A., Nezhad M.P. and Pradhan B., 2019b. Investigation of the Vegetation Cover and the Vulnerability of the Mashhad Regions to Desertification by Using MODIS Image and EVI, 2019 IEEE International Conference on Cybernetics and Computational Intelligence (CyberneticsCom), pp. 46-49.
  3. Akbari M., Memarian H., Neamatollahi E., Jafari Shalamzari M., Alizadeh Noughani M. and Zakeri D. 2021. Prioritizing policies and strategies for desertification risk management using MCDM–DPSIR approach in northeastern Iran. Environment, Development and Sustainability Vol 23: 2503-2523.
  4. Akbari M., Shalamzari M.J., Memarian H. and Gholami A. 2020. Monitoring desertification processes using ecological indicators and providing management programs in arid regions of Iran. Ecological indicators Vol 111: 106011.
  5. Chen H., Zhang W. and Jafari Shalamzari M. 2019. Remote detection of human-induced evapotranspiration in a regional system experiencing increased anthropogenic demands and extreme climatic variability. International Journal of Remote Sensing Vol 40: 1887-1908.
  6. Daliakopoulos I., Tsanis I., Koutroulis A., Kourgialas N., Varouchakis A., Karatzas G. and Ritsema C. 2016. The threat of soil salinity: A European scale review. Sci Total Environ Vol 573: 727-739.
  7. Darkoh M.B.K. 1998. The nature, causes and consequences of desertification in the drylands of Africa. Land Degradation & Development Vol 9: 1-20.
  8. Dharumarajan S., Bishop T.F., Hegde R. and Singh S.K. 2018. Desertification vulnerability index—an effective approach to assess desertification processes: A case study in Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Land Degradation & Development Vol 29: 150-161.
  9. Didan K., Munoz A.B., Solano R. and Huete A. 2015. MODIS vegetation index user’s guide (MOD13 series). University of Arizona: Vegetation Index and Phenology Lab
  10. Du L., Tian Q., Yu T., Meng Q., Jancso T., Udvardy P. and Huang Y. 2013. A comprehensive drought monitoring method integrating MODIS and TRMM data. Int J Appl Earth Obs Geoinf Vol 23: 245-253.
  11. Fathi A., Jafari R. and Soltani S. 2015. Performance comparison of MEDALUD, MICD and FAO-UNEP desertification mapping models in the desertification hotspot of Jarghoyeh region, Isfahan province. Journal of Science and Technology of Agriculture and Natural Resources Vol 19: 299-310.
  12. Ferreira T.R., Pace F.T.D., Silva B.B.D. and Delgado J.R. 2017. Identification of desertification-sensitive areas in the Brazilian Northeast through vegetation indices. Engenharia Agrícola Vol 37: 1190-1202.
  13. Gajos M. and Sierka E. 2012. GIS Technology in Environmental Protection: Research Directions Based on Literature Review. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies Vol 21: 241-248.
  14. Görener A. 2012. Comparing AHP and ANP: an application of strategic decisions making in a manufacturing company. International Journal of Business and Social Science Vol 3: 194-208.
  15. Jafari Shalamzari M., Zhang W., Gholami A. and Zhang Z. 2019. Runoff Harvesting Site Suitability Analysis for Wildlife in Sub-Desert Regions. Water Vol 11: 1944.
  16. Jain A., Nandakumar K. and Ross A. 2005. Score normalization in multimodal biometric systems. Pattern recognition Vol 38: 2270-2285.
  17. Kaviani N., Onagh M., Sadodin A. and Filekesh E. 2014. Comparing efficiency of Iranian desert hazard assessment models, namely MICD and IMDPA (Case study: Sabzevar region). Journal of Water and Soil Conservation Vol 21: 1-28.
  18. Kogan F.N. 1995. Application of vegetation index and brightness temperature for drought detection. Adv Space Res Vol 15: 91-100.
  19. Kosmas C., Kirkby M.J. and Geeson N., 1999. Medalus Project: Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use. Manual on KEY INDICATORS of Desertification and Mapping Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Publication of European Union, Brussels, Beligium.
  20. Mehta M., Saha S. and Agrawal S. 2013. Evaluation of Indices and Parameters Obtained from Optical and Thermal Bands of Landsat 7 ETM+ for Mapping of Salt-Affected Soils and Water-Logged Areas. Asian Journal of Geoinformatics Vol 12:
  21. Oldeman L., Hakkeling R., Sombroek W. and Batjes N., 1991. Global assessment of human-induced soil degradation (GLASOD), World map of the status of human-induced soil degradation. Wageningen, Netherlands: Winand Staring Centre–ISSSFAO–ITC.
  22. Orimoloye I.R., Belle J.A. and Ololade O.O. 2021. Drought disaster monitoring using MODIS derived index for drought years: A space-based information for ecosystems and environmental conservation. Journal of Environmental Management Vol 284: 112028.
  23. Parvari S.H., Pahlavanravi A., Moghaddam Nia A.R., Dehvari A. and Parvari D. 2011. Application of methodology for mapping environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) to desertification in dry bed of Hamoun Wetland (Iran). ECOPERSIA 65-80.
  24. Pashaei M., Rashki A. and Sepehr A. 2017. An integrated desertification vulnerability index for Khorasan-Razavi, Iran. Natural Resources and Conservation Vol 5: 44-55.
  25. Saaty T.L. 2008. Decision making with the analytic hierarchy process. International journal of services sciences Vol 1: 83-98.
  26. Sepehr A. and Parvian N. 2012. Desertification vulnerability mapping and prioritize confronting strategies in Khorasan Razavi province based on the nartbh pramsh algorithm. Earth Sci. Res. J Vol 8: 58-71.
  27. Sepehr A., Zucca C. and Nowjavan M.R. 2014. Desertification Inherent Status Using Factors Representing Ecological Resilience. British Journal of Environment and Climate Change Vol 4: 279.
  28. Shihab T.H. and Al-hameedawi A.N. 2020. Desertification Hazard Zonation in Central Iraq Using Multi-criteria Evaluation and GIS. Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing Vol 48: 397-409.
  29. Shiravi M. and Sepehr A. 2017. Fuzzy Based Detection of Desertification-Prone Areas: A Case Study in Khorasan-Razavi Province, Iran. Natural Resources and Conservation Vol 5: 1-12.
  30. ten Have H. and Neves M.d.C.P., 2021. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Dictionary of Global Bioethics. Springer, pp. 51-51.
  31. Tollefson J. and Gilbert N. 2012. Earth summit: Rio report card. Nature News Vol 486: 20.
  32. Velasquez M. and Hester P.T. 2013. An analysis of multi-criteria decision making methods. International journal of operations research Vol 10: 56-66.
  33. Vogt J., Safriel U., Von Maltitz G., Sokona Y., Zougmore R., Bastin G. and Hill J. 2011. Monitoring and assessment of land degradation and desertification: towards new conceptual and integrated approaches. Land Degradation & Development Vol 22: 150-165.
  34. Wang L., Seki K., Miyazaki T. and Ishihama Y. 2009. The causes of soil alkalinization in the Songnen Plain of Northeast China. Paddy and Water Environment Vol 7: 259-270.