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Integration of Ikonos Data In Assessing the Dynamics of The Range Ecosystems of the Manzla Watershed (Tangier, Morocco)

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4th World Congress Conference, Proceedings of the 24-26 July 2006 (Orlando, Florida USA) Publication Date 24 July 2006  701P0606.(doi:10.13031/2013.21959)
Authors:   Mohammed Mejjati Alami, Abdelaziz Merzouk and Taha Azaroual
Keywords:   Brushland (matorral), range ecosystems, trend (dynamics), high spatial resolution, western Rif

The sustainable and participatory management of sylvo-pastoral ecosystems of the Rifs mountains require a precise analysis of the profile of the natural resources and the evolution of human intervention on the level of the commune and village. Facing to the emergency of the management projects and the lack of data and monitoring, the technicians and the researchers now can use new technologies of information acquisition and management. Rising generations of satellites with high space resolution (Ikonos, QuickBird) offer the possibility of the analysis of the dynamics of rangelands. The present research program aimed the evaluation of this potential contribution of Ikonos data. Thus a community geographical information system (GIS) was established with the integration of Ikonos data (P+MS combined at 1 m resolution) to measure the impact of land use changes induced by climatic and human forces (grazing, cultivation) in a small watershed representative of the Rif mountains (Tangier, Morocco). By using geographical data from various sources on the same site and along five toposequences, this study showed that the Ikonos images make it possible to refine the determination of the range ecological sites, the mapping and their spatialization compared to the results obtained by using aerial photography, SPOT-HRV and Landsat-TM images. Indeed, the Ikonos image processing enabled us to identify new plant associations and communities and thus to define new range ecological sites resulting from the processes of degradation, from the dense brushland "matorral" to the low scrubland "erme" (ultimate stage of degradation of the forest), and this according to the land use changes in relation to the dynamics of the population (demographic growth, displacement, pasture, use of the firewood, clearing, etc.). This important layer of information on rangeland conditions was used in the Manzla community GIS to propose and to simulate potential impact of different management options. Hard copies of Ikonos imagery (1 m resolution) were used on the field with the farmers to discuss and collect their understanding and their proposal for rangeland management. The paper presents comparative results between Ikonos and aerial photography imageries for community mapping needs and implementation of rangeland development activities at the village level.

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