The Importance Of Land Use: Change Detection

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2.3 Land use/Land covers Change Detection

An increasingly common application of remotely sensed data is for change detection. Change detection is the process of identifying differences in the state of an object or phenomenon by observing it at different times(Bottolomy, 1998). Change detection is an important process in monitoring and managing natural resources and urban development because it provides quantitative analysis of the spatial distribution of the population of interest. Change detection is useful in such diverse applications as land use change analysis, monitoring shifting cultivation, assessment of deforestation, and study of changes in vegetation phenology, seasonal changes in pasture production, damage assessment, crop
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Land use and land cover are distinct yet closely linked characteristics of the Earth’s surface. Land use is the manner in which human beings employ the land and its resources. Examples of land use include agriculture, urban development, grazing, logging, and mining. In contrast, land cover describes the physical state of the land surface. Land cover categories include cropland, forests, wetlands, pasture, roads, and urban areas. The term land cover originally referred to the kind and state of vegetation, such as forest or grass cover, but it has broadened in subsequent usage to include human structures such as buildings or pavement and other aspects of the natural environment, such as soil type, biodiversity, and surface and groundwater (Meyer, 1995). Land use affects land cover and changes in land cover affect land use. A change in either, however, is not necessarily the product of the other. Changes in land cover by land use do not necessarily imply a degradation of the land. However, many shifting land use patterns, driven by a variety of social causes, result in land cover changes that affect biodiversity, water and radiation budgets, trace gas emissions and other processes that, cumulatively, affect global climate and biosphere (Riebsame et al.,…show more content…
Natural events such as weather, flooding, fire, climate fluctuations, and ecosystem dynamics may also initiate modifications upon land cover. Globally, land cover today is altered principally by direct human use: by agriculture and livestock raising, forest harvesting and management, and urban and suburban construction and development. There are also incidental impacts on land cover from other human activities such as forests and lakes damaged by acid rain from fossil fuel combustion and crops near cities damaged by tropospheric ozone resulting from automobile exhaust (Meyer, 1995).

Contemporary global change consists of two broad types, systemic and cumulative. Systemic change operates directly on the bio-chemical flows that sustain the biosphere and, depending on its magnitude, can lead to global change, just as fossil fuel consumption increases the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Systemic change is largely associated with, but not limited to, the Industrial Age and thus has grown especially important over the more recent past (Turner and Butzer,
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