Forest Cover Change Detection Using Remote Sensing and Ground Survey in Karkoj map sheet, Sennar State - Sudan

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Mahmoud, Mustafa
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The assessment of forest cover and its change is an essential issue in forest management, on the way to develop the methods for estimating the forest resource and its changes to support the policy makers to take a decision that may ensure and maintain the resource. The main objective of this research is to evaluate the efficiency of successive ground inventory on one hand and remote sensing and GIS on the other hand as tools for forest resource assessment in the vast Blue Nile area (Karkoj map sheet). The results obtained by the analysis of remote sensing data (Landsat image 1996) were compared with the results taken by ground survey of the same year. Conducted by the National Forest Resources Inventory (NFRI) plan data was also collected in 2005 from the same plots measured in 1996 in order to estimate the changes between the two periods. The main findings of the research are; the remote sensing and GIS gives similar information about land cover when compared with ground measurements as a reference method. The results taken from successive inventory (1996 and 2005) facilitated detailed information about vegetation cover in the study area. In the map sheet under investigation with an area about (691086) hectare (ha), the results show the forest area decreased from 325 217 ha in 1996 to 121 956 ha in 2005. The decrease was mainly due to agricultural expansion. The results indicated that some of the valuable tree species disappeared, the number of stem per unit area also decreased and the number of regeneration decreased. The remote sensing technique and GIS integrated with ground survey can be reliable in providing information on land cover and its changes