Land degradation vulnerability assessment based on land use changes and FAO suitability analysis in Jordan
The objective of this research was to investigate the pattern of land use change and its impact on land degradation in the Mediterranean regions of Jordan. Land use was interpreted using aerial photos and high-resolution satellite images and fieldwork carried out in 2018. Assessment of the degradation vulnerability degree was based on comparing the current land use with the potential suitability of the land by using FAO framework and spatial analysis techniques. The pattern of land use change from 1958 to 2018 showed that the area of rangeland and field crops declined by 16.1%, and 13.5% respectively; while the potential suitability for land utilization showed that 80% of the catchment is highly suitable for forest and rangeland in classes S1 and S2 respectively. The degree of vulnerability for land degradation under the current land use was assessed based on the erosion hazard, slope percent, and soil depth. The highest vulnerability class represents 10%, the medium vulnerability class covers 24%, the slightly moderate vulnerability class covers 31%, and the low vulnerability class consists of about 22% of the catchment area. In summary, the main constraints contributing to land degradation are improper land use by cultivation under high erosion hazard and slope degree followed by shallow soil depth.
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