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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353


MUAVHI, Nndanduleni. A simple approach for monitoring vegetation change using time series remote sensing analysis: A case study from the Thathe Vondo Area in Limpopo Province, South Africa. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2021, vol.117, n.7-8, pp.1-9. ISSN 1996-7489.

This study presents a simple approach of spatiotemporal change detection of vegetation cover based on analysis of time series remotely sensed images. The study was carried out at Thathe Vondo Area, which is characterised by episodic variation of vegetation gain and loss. This variation is attributable to timber and tea plantations and their production cycles, which periodically result in either vegetation gain or loss. The approach presented here was implemented on two ASTER images acquired in 2007 and 2017. It involved the combined use of band combination, unsupervised image classification and Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) techniques. True colour composite (TCC) images for 2007 and 2017 were created from combination of bands 1, 2 and 3 in red, blue and green, respectively. The difference image of the TCC images was then generated to show the inconsistencies of vegetation cover between 2007 and 2017. For analytical simplicity and interpretability, the difference image was subjected to ISODATA unsupervised classification, which clustered pixels in the difference image into eight classes. Two ISODATA derived classes were interpreted as vegetation gain and one as vegetation loss. These classes were confirmed as regions of vegetation gain and loss by NDVI values of 2007 and 2017. In addition, the polygons of vegetation gain and loss regions were created and superimposed over the TCC images to further demonstrate the spatiotemporal vegetation change in the area. The vegetation change statistics show vegetation gain and loss of 10.62% and 2.03%, respectively, implying a vegetation gain of 8.59% over the selected decade.SIGNIFICANCE: • Vegetation change detection is essential in environmental monitoring and management of an area. This study presents a simple approach for assessing vegetation change over time. The approach involves change detection through the difference of spectral values of vegetation pixels of time series remotely sensed images.

Keywords : time series analysis; Thathe Vondo forest; remote sensing; vegetation change detection.

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