Evaluation of vegetation cover using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)
AbstractSoil loss by water erosion is the main cause of soil degradation in Brazil. However, erosion can be reduced by the presence of vegetation. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) makes it possible to identify the vegetative vigor of crops or natural vegetation which facilities the identification of areas with vegetation covers. This information is very important in identifying the phenomena which might be occurring in a particular area, especially those related to soil degradation by water erosion. Thus, the aim of this work was to assess the canopy cover by using NDVI, checking the image accuracy using the Coverage Index (CI) based on the Stocking method, in the Sub-basin of Posses, which belongs to the Cantareira System, located in the Extrema municipality, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Landsat-5 TM images were used. The sub-basin of Posses was very altered in comparison to the surrounding areas. The NDVI technique proved to be a suitable tool to assess the uses that occur in the sub-basin of Posses, as validated by the Stocking methodology. The map derived from NDVI allowed the geographic distribution of different land uses to be observed and allowed for the identification of critical areas in relation to vegetation cover as well. This finding can be used to optimize efforts to recover and protect soil in areas with bare soil and degraded pasture, in order to reduce environmental degradation. The CI has not exceeded 40% for land use classes that occur in the majority of the sub-basin (91%), except in areas of woody vegetation.
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