ResumoThe empirical and scientifically documents prove that misuse of natural resource causes degradation in it. So natural resources conservation is important in approaching sustainable development aims. In current study, Landsat Thematic Mapper images and grazing gradient method have been used to map the extent and degree of rangeland degradation. In during ground-based data measuring, factors such as vegetation cover, litter, plant diversity, bare soil, and stone & gravels were estimated as biophysical indicators of degradation. The next stage, after geometric correction and doing some necessary pre-processing practices on the study area's images; the best and suitable vegetation index has been selected to map rangeland degradation among the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), and Perpendicular Vegetation Index (PVI). Then using suitable vegetation index and distance parameter was produced the rangelands degradation map. The results of ground-based data analysis reveal that there is a significant relation between increasing distance from critical points and plant diversity and also percentage of litter. Also there is significant relation between vegetation cover percent and distance from village, i.e. the vegetation cover percent increases by increasing distance from villages, while it wasn't the same around the stock watering points. The result of analysis about bare soil and distance from critical point was the same to vegetation cover changes manner. Also there wasn't significant relation between stones & gravels index and distance from critical points. The results of image processing show that, NDVI appears to be sensitive to vegetation changes along the grazing gradient and it can be suitable vegetation index to map rangeland degradation. The degradation map shows that there is high degradation around the critical points. These areas need urgent attention for soil conservation. Generally, it shows that the most parts of rangelands in studying area have been degraded. So conservation priorities on degraded rangelands have been recognized based on current degradation.
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