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Agric. sci. dev., Vol(4), No (3), March, 2015. pp.


TI Journals

Agriculture Science Developments

Copyright 2015. All rights reserved for TI Journals.

The Investigation of Vegetation Cover Changes Around of Hoze-Soltan

Lake using Remote Sensing
Forootan Elham *
Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering Department,Faculty of Agricultural Sciences,Payame Noor University, Qom,Islamic Republic of Iran.

Alikhah-Asl Marzieh
Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering Department,Faculty of Agricultural Sciences,Payame Noor University, Tehran,Islamic Republic of Iran.
*Corresponding author:



Hoze-Soltan Lake
Salinity Index

The knowledge of vegetation cover rate and its changes is a necessity for maintaining, developing and
suitable utilizing natural resources. Field measurements are time-consuming and need expensive cost
therefore; remote sensing techniques which are readily accessible and in most of cases have acceptable
results were considered. In this research, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and salinity index were
used to investigate vegetation cover changes. The study area is located around of Hoze Soltan Salt Lake
which Landsat ETM satellite image of 2002 and OLI of 2013 in May were used. The results of this study
revealed that vegetation cover increases from 65.33 hectare in 2002 to 2942.61 hectare in 2013. Moreover;
the soil salinity investigation on 28 sample points indicated in 2013, soil salinity class decreases in most of
cases which vegetation cover increases.

This article is extracted from the research

project supported financially by PayamNoor



The vegetation cover has great importance to supply food, forage and oxygen production as well as developing recreational sites. Hence, the
knowledge of vegetation cover rate and the investigation of its changes is a necessity for maintaining, developing and siutable utilizing of natural
resources. Field measurements are time-consuming and need expensive cost therefore; remote sensing which can provide information for large
areas in a relatively short time was considered. Remote sensing in conjunction with Geographic Information System (GIS) is the advanced tool
for surveying vegetation cover and obtaining data on soil salinity. Mapping vegetation cover through remotely sensed images comprises various
considerations, processes and techniques. One of them is vegetation indices easy to understand and estimate [5,8,10,11,14] whereas; salinity
index can be used for detecting biophysical characteristics of vegetation cover indirectly. Some of researches such as Abbas and Khan[1]
revealed that there was a good relationship between reflectance in Land-sat bands, EC and salinity index(SI) and some of them indicated that
crusted saline soil reflects strongly in the visible and near-infrared (NIR) bands [6,9,12] .Based on these results, in this paper, the simplest
vegetation indices such as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and soil salinity (SI) were applied to investigate vegetation cover
changes in 2002 and 2013.


Materials and methods

2.1 Study Area

The study area located around of Hoze-Slotan Lake located between Tehran and Qom cities on the shoulders of Tehran-Qom highway. The
selected area lies between 50 55 00 to 51 20 E and 34 55to 35 5 30 N.
2.2 Satellite Data
ETM+ image in 2002 and OLI in 2013 in May were implemented in this research whereas, the satellite images were georeferenced with 20 well
distributed ground points using 1st-order and nearest neighbor resampling. So, the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of 0.8 Pixel was estimated
for this image.
2.3 Methodology
The NDVI is utilized to identify vegetation and its health calculated from the visible and near-infrared light reflected by vegetation as below:
In this study, NDVI is calculated for 2002 and 2013 images.


Salinity index is used to provide salinity map in 2002 and 2013 which the higher reflection represent high saline soil by the equation described as
below [1,2]:
SI =

Near infra-red =(NIR)

Red band (Red).
Green band=Green
Arc GIS 9.3 was used to calculate vegetation cover area and provide maps whereas; 28 sample points located in vegetation cover area were
considered to investigate salinity class changes between 2002 and 2013.


Elham Forootan *, Marzieh Alikhah-Asl


Agriculture Science Developments Vol(4), No (3), March, 2015.

Table 2. Band characteristics of Landsat 7 and Landsat8

Landsat 8
Bandwidth (m)
0.43 0.45
0.45 0.51
0.53 0.59
0.64 0.67
0.85 0.88
1.57 1.65
2.11 2.29
0.50 0.68
1.36 1.38
10.6 11.19
11.5 12.51

Band Name
Band 1 Coastal
Band 2 Blue
Band 3 Green
Band 4 Red
Band 5 NIR
Band 6 SWIR 1
Band 7 SWIR 2
Band 8 Pan
Band 9 Cirrus
Band 10 TIRS 1
Band 11 TIRS 2

Resolution (m)

Band Name

1 Blue
2 Green
3 Red
5 SWIR 1
7 SWIR 2
8 Pan

Landsat 7
Bandwidth (m)

Resolution (m)

0.45 0.52
0.52 0.60
0.63 0.69
0.77 0.90
1.55 1.75
2.09 2.35
0.52 0.90


Table 3. Sample point salinity class in 2002 and 2013



Total points

Points in class 1

Points in class2

Points in class 3

Points in class 4

Results and discussion

Remote sensing data have been used to map saline regions and vegetation cover because of having the potential to identify and map soil salinity
and vegetation cover significantly. Multispectral satellite sensors with low cost and ability of mapping salinity surface and vegetation have been
considered in most of researches. However, multispectral data have limited capabilities due to their spatial and spectral resolution [2].In this
study, the results of Performing NDVI in 2002 and 2013 images were shown in Fig1 and Fig 2. The vegetation cover area calculated in Arc-GIS
was 65.33 hectare in 2002 whereas; the vegetation area was 2942.61 hectare in 2013. Soil salinity refers to the state of accumulation of the
soluble salts in the soil [3]. The present study shows the possibilities of detecting the salinity soil in 2002 and 2013 images by remote sensing
index which uses green and red bands (Fig 3 and Fig4). The investigation of salinity class changes revealed that in 2013, 28.58% of sample
points were in class 1(slightly saline), whereas; 46.42% and 25% were in class 2 and 3 (Moderately and strongly saline), respectively. In 2002,
3.57%, 64.28% and 32.15% were in classes 1, 2 and 3 of soil salinity class, respectively (Table 3).
In arid and semi-arid regions, soil salinity is a serious environmental problem. Different studies have used indexes such as NDVI and SI for
monitoring the vegetation condition and mapping soil salinity [4, 7, and 13]. These methods were based on that soil salinity is the only factor
which decreases the crop condition. In this study using NDVI for 2002 and 2013 image in the same month revealed vegetation cover have
increased in 2013. The application of SI index indicated that sample points in class 1 of salinity (slightly saline) increased by 25% whereas;
sample points in class 2 and 3 of salinity (Moderately and strongly saline) decreased by 17.86% and 7.14% ,respectively in 2013.
The increase of vegetation cover in 2013 indicated the reduction of salt and the improvement of cultivation in this area. Moreover; the decrease
of salty soil area and the increase of vegetation cover may be attributed to climate and water table changes because high salt concentrations can
be identified through the rise of water table.

The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of the PayamNoor University, which made this research possible.

Figure 1. NDVI index result in 2002

Figure 2. NDVI index result in 2013


The Investigation of Vegetation Cover Changes Around of Hoze-Soltan Lake using Remote Sensing
Agriculture Science Developments Vol(4), No (3), March, 2015.

Figure 3. SI index result in 2002

Figure 4. SI index result in 2013



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