Remote sensing and GIS techniques for monitoring and predicting land degradation and impacts of engineering solutions in an area
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Salinity, waterlogging and drought are major causes of land degradation and serious threats to sustainable agricultural productivity in the south-west agricultural region of Western Australia (WA). The spectral signatures of pasture plants under drought, waterlogging and nutrient deficiency were examined in a greenhouse study using both a field and an analytical laboratory spectrometer (400 to 2,500 nm wavelength). Drought stress group (RWC, 39.9%) has the highest reflectance of 48.2%, waterlogging group (RWC, 49.7%) with a magnitude of 43.1% reflectance and control group (RWC, 61.5%) has the lowest of 41.9%. The highest separability based on magnitude among control, waterlogging and drought stress groups is located at reflection band at 1,666 nm, 1,818 nm and 2,216 nm and at 1,450 nm absorption bands. Remote sensing and GIS techniques were used to predict risks of soil salinity and waterlogging in the study area. Time-sequenced Landsat TM satellite data and groundwater data were analysed to delineate areas where major changes in soil salinity, waterlogging have taken place before and after engineering interventions of deep drains.The rainfall data analysis of all cities in the south-west of Western Australia indicate that annual rainfall has been decreasing since 1969 for some cities in the region and rainfall is decreasing in some cities since 1975. The winter season rainfall shows a downward trend and summer season rainfall shows an upward trend linked to an increase in the frequency of summer storm events in the south-west, in the Wheatbelt and in the east of Western Australia. The annual rainfall and summer season rainfalls have been increasing in the north of Western Australia and both annual rainfall and summer season rainfalls show an increasing trend. Climate change was studied for northern, eastern, Wheatbelt and south-west of WA and its impacts of on surface runoff, groundwater recharge, and land degradation were studied.Deep open drains were monitored in the two major drainage districts of Narembeen and Dumbleyung in Wheatbelt of Western Australia. The efficacy of drains in mitigating the problems of waterlogging and salinity in the area was studied. Information on monitoring of drains in six coastal districts in Western Australia, from Australia and other countries was collated and a coastal drainage best management practices ‘BMP Toolbox’ has been developed.
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