Analysis and Prediction of Land Use Change in Yazd-Ardakan Plain

Document Type: Original Article


1 Ph.D. student, Department of management arid and desert regions, College of Natural Resources and Desert, Yazd University

2 Associate Professor, Department of arid and desert regions management, College of Natural Resources and Desert, Yazd University, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, Ardakan University

4 Associate Professor, Department of arid and desert regions management, College of Natural Resources and Desert, Yazd University



Land use maps provide a large fragment of the information required by planners for basic decision-making. Detection of changes as well as prediction of land use changes play a critical role in providing a general insight into better management and conservation of natural resources. This study aimed to simulate land use and land changes using the automatic cell model and Markov Chain in a 30-year period (1986-2016) in the Yazd-Ardakan plain, Iran. In this regard, the object-oriented classification technique, Landsat satellite images (MSS) of 1986, Landsat (TM) of 1999, Landsat (ETM+) of 2010, and Landsat 8 (OLI) of 2016 were employed to create the land use maps, including seven land use types ( afforestation, agricultural land and garden, barren land, poor rangeland, residential land, rocky land and sand dune). To validate the model accuracy, the simulated land use map of 2010 was compared to the actual map obtained by mapping of the satellite image of the same year. The Kappa coefficient obtained showed that the CA-Markov chain model had a high ability (81%) in simulation of land use changes in the Yazd-Ardakan plain. Based on the results, it is likely that, at the interval of 2016-2030, 80% of afforestation land, 55% of agricultural land and gardens, 41% of barren land, 34% of poor rangeland, 47% of residential land, 43% of sand dune, will be 93% unchanged. Additionally, from 2016 to 2030, the conversion of barren lands to afforestation (55%) as well as poor rangeland to agricultural lands and gardens (43%) is highly probable. Based on the area obtained from each land use in 2030 compared to 2016, the areas of afforestation, agricultural land and gardens, residential land and sand dune will increase, and the barren land and poor rangeland will decline. The excessive growth of the population and the increasing need for food and new energy sources as well as the need for residential areas lead to unconventional and extreme exploitation of the natural resources of the Yazd-Ardakan plain.