Soil erosion in Lebanon & Tunisia
INES has a long tradition of research on desertification and erosion, especially in the torosphere. During the 1970s and 1980s a series of doctoral theses were produced in this field of research. Since the 1990s, the institution has still conducted research with remote sensing as a base but not focusing on erosion problems. In this project, funded by Sida-Sarec and operated in collaboration with the National Council for Scientific Research, Beirut, Lebanon and the Center National de Télédection, Tunis, Tunisia, this research area is resumed using new technology.
Hyperspectral satellite data has been available for a number of years but the research area is still so new that it is relevant to investigate how to use this type of data to improve the erosion and sedimentation studies that have been made with more traditional remote sensing. Using a field spectrometer, reflectance data for different soils collects over the wavelength bands from about 350 to 1050 nanometers. Corresponding wavelength bands are recorded by, for example, the Hyperion sensor, and it is possible to establish spectral signatures to identify different soil types.
Because the surface layer of the soil is eroded, deeper parts of a soil are exposed, which usually has a somewhat different reflection than the surface layer, and therefore it is possible to estimate which parts of a landscape that are prone to erosion. The study areas are located in Bekadalen in Lebanon and in Matmataberg in Tunisia. The project has generated a master thesis.