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Land degradation assessment in the Argentinean Puna: Comparing expert knowledge with satellite-derived information

Highlights

  • 18 Land Use Systems were successfully identified in the Argentinean Puna Region.
  • Experts determined 74% of the region (120,000 km2) was under land degradation processes.
  • Only 19.6% of the region presented negative NDVI trends in the studied period.
  • No agreement between satellite derived and experts assessment on land degradation.
  • It is crucial to combine satellite and expert knowledge in LDN implementation.

The Puna region, located in NW Argentina, is a dry highland with many endemic species and significant traditional cultural heritage. The Puna was a pilot region for the Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands project (LADA-FAO) which aimed at assessing desertification status in different land use systems (LUS).

The results of these assessments are used for reporting to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) monitoring. The assessment was performed using an expert knowledge questionnaire following the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies initiative methodology (LADA-WOCAT), on LUS map units obtained by a participatory mapping methodology. In this article we compare the inferences on land degradation status and its temporal trends derived from LADA-WOCAT method with those obtained from remotely sensed data.

The aim  of the authors is to understand similarities and differences in the assessments in order to provide recommendations and suggestions on improved LDN assessment methods, reporting and monitoring. Our results suggest that the LADA-WOCAT participatory mapping successfully delineated LUSs with different phenological characteristics over an extended area. Environmental Science & PolicyVolume 91, January 2019, Pages 70-80; Ingrid Teich; Mariano Gonzalez-Roglich; Adolfo Federico Kindgard; Andrés Carlos Ravelo; Hanspeter Liniger) Read the full text article