Modeling land use changes and their impact on sediment load in a Mediterranean watershed

Romano, G., O. M. M. Abdelwahab, and F. Gentile, "Modeling land use changes and their impact on sediment load in a Mediterranean watershed", \{CATENA\}, vol. 163, pp. 342 - 353, 2018.


Abstract The aim of this study is to model potential changes in land use and evaluate their effects on sediment load in a Mediterranean watershed, the Carapelle, in Southern Italy. For this purpose, a set of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images were processed to generate three different land use maps for 1987, 2002, and 2011. The images were corrected for geometric distortion and atmospheric interference before performing an unsupervised classification and decision expert system post classification. The land use maps for 1987 and 2002, derived from the Landsat \{TM\} processing, were analyzed using a Land Change Modeler (LCM) module to identify transitions from the first land cover type to the second. The transitions were modeled using a multi-layer perceptron (MLP) neural network to create transition potential maps, which provide the controls for subsequent dynamic land use change predictions. The model produced a predicted land use map for 2011 using Markov Chain analysis, which was validated with the actual 2011 land use map. Consequently, a land use scenario (S1) for 2035 and 2050 was predicted, taking into account the current constraints and management options. \{LCM\} was further used to define two additional scenarios (S2 and S3) both for 2035 and 2050 based on different land management options. Finally, the Annual Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Model (AnnAGNPS) was used to estimate the effect of the predicted land use changes on sediment load after model calibration, using a five-year dataset registered at the Ordona monitoring station. The land use change analysis revealed low transformations from 1987 to 2011. Equally, land use changes were low for the base scenario (S1) so moderate variations in sediment load were estimated. The changes in land use were more significant for the additional scenarios (S2 and S3) and consequently the model estimations underwent major variations, with a significant reduction of soil erosion. The associated utilization of land use change analysis and AnnAGNPS modeling demonstrates how land use management options can be adopted to reduce potential watershed sediment load.



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