Land degradation monitoring in the Ordos Plateau of China using an expert knowledge and BP-ANN-based approach

Yaojie Yue, Min Li, A. Xing Zhu, Xinyue Ye, Rui Mao, Jinhong Wan, Jin Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Land degradation monitoring is of vital importance to provide scientific information for promoting sustainable land utilization. This paper presents an expert knowledge and BP-ANN-based approach to detect and monitor land degradation in an effort to overcome the deficiencies of image classification and vegetation index-based approaches. The proposed approach consists of three generic steps: (1) extraction of knowledge on the relationship between land degradation degree and predisposing factors, which are NDVI and albedo, from domain experts; (2) establishment of a land degradation detecting model based on the BP-ANN algorithm; and (3) land degradation dynamic analysis. A comprehensive analysis was conducted on the development of land degradation in the Ordos Plateau of China in 1990, 2000 and 2010. The results indicate that the proposed approach is reliable for monitoring land degradation, with an overall accuracy of 91.2%. From 1990-2010, a reverse trend of land degradation is observed in Ordos Plateau. Regions with relatively high land degradation dynamic were mostly located in the northeast of Ordos Plateau. Additionally, most of the regions have transferred from a hot spot of land degradation to a less changed area. It is suggested that land utilization optimization plays a key role for effective land degradation control. However, it should be highlighted that the goals of such strategies should aim at the main negative factors causing land degradation, and the land use type and its quantity must meet the demand of population and be reconciled with natural conditions. Results from this case study suggest that the expert knowledge and BP-ANN-based approach is effective in mapping land degradation..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1174
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 13 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Albedo
  • BP-ANN
  • Land degradation
  • NDVI
  • Ordos Plateau
  • TM image
  • Visual interpretation


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