Wetland land cover change detection using multi-temporal Landsat data: the case study of Al-Asfar Wetland (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

Principal Investigator


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Project Details

Type of project: KFU Nasher Track

Start date: 17/11/2020

End date: 17/04/2021


The Al-Asfar wetland, locally known as Lake Al-Asfar, is the largest inland wetland in the Arabian Peninsula. It is situated to the east of the Al-Ahsa oasis. It was formed at the expense of the sabkha Umm Hishah by the discharge of increasing quantities of the drainage waters of the oasis. This research was conducted to assess the change in land cover using four satellite images from 1990 to 2020. The study used a Landsat 5 TM image (1990), a Landsat 7 ETM+ image (2000), a Landsat 8 OLI-TIRS image (2010), and a Landsat Sentinel-2 L2A image to examine the land cover of the Al-Asfar wetland. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) were used in order to evaluate the tendency of ecosystem evolution. The results indicate that for three decades, wetlands have increased significantly. Approximately 15.46 km2 (24.69%) of the body of water was added and the vegetation areas expanded, to approximately 10.74 km2 (17.15%). The reasons that explain the changes detected in the study area are the discharge of agricultural drainage water and semi-treated water from sewage treatment plants and the spread of reed mites (Phragmites australis) which covers about 23.81% of the area of the Al-Asfar wetland in 2020. For these reasons, the study recommends the necessity for imperative consideration to the protection of the resources of other wetlands in Saudi Arabia in order to ensure their sustainable use for future generations.


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Last updated on 2021-05-04 at 19:44