Land cover patterns in Mongolia and their spatiotemporal changes from 1990 to 2010
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© 2019, Saudi Society for Geosciences. Mongolia is in the hinterland of the Mongolian Plateau, which has a varied, fragile, and sensitive geographical environment. Understanding its land cover pattern and change is of great significance for the resources, environment, ecology, and sustainable development of the Mongolia Plateau and Northeast Asia. In this study, land cover products of Mongolia in 1990 and 2010 were obtained via Landsat thematic mapper remote sensing images using an object-oriented classification method. The overall classification accuracies were 82.26% and 92.34%, respectively. Based on the products, the land cover patterns of Mongolia in 2010 and the land cover changes from 1990 to 2010 were analyzed. The spatial pattern presented an obvious regional difference and a land cover type transition from forests, real steppes, and desert steppes to barren from north to south. The provinces with the highest grassland and forest cover were Dornod in Eastern Mongolia and Selenge in Northern Mongolia. From 1990 to 2010, the area of forest, real steppe, cropland, and sand presented a decreasing trend and decreased by 27337.47, 24071.44, 5256.6, and 3868.16 km2, respectively. The area of meadow steppe, desert steppe, bare land, and desert showed an increasing trend and increased by 2943.32, 27815.71, 27721.03, and 2110.26 km2. Our results indicate that the vegetative cover of Mongolia showed a decreasing trend, and the desertification was severe. These changes could be attributed to a combination of climate change, increased livestock grazing and natural disasters, socioeconomic shifts, and exhaustive exploitation of natural resources.
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