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Arabian Journal of Geosciences (2020) 13:548

https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-05551-z

ARABGU2016

Contribution of Sentinel-2 multispectral satellite images to study


salinization effect of the Touggourt agricultural region (Algeria)
Madina Khelifi Touhami 1 & Seyfallah Bouraoui 1 & Mohamed-Chérif Berguig 1

Received: 25 January 2020 / Accepted: 4 June 2020


# Saudi Society for Geosciences 2020

Abstract
In this paper, we propose a new spatio-morphological mapping of a region affected by the problem of salinization of its
agricultural land. The rise of salt, which occurs naturally by infiltration of water passing through a saline layer through the faults,
is accentuated by poor irrigation management, particularly by the use of Mio-Pliocene’s water with an excessive salt content and
the inadequate drainage system. We use optical remote sensing data that allows us to study a spacious area with high accuracy (up
to 10-m resolution) using Sentinel-2 images in combination with in situ data. In addition to the use of heterogeneous data, we also
combine several methods (salinity and vegetation index, K-means clustering, and artificial neural networks classification) to
achieve more accurate and reliable results by using software specially designed for this type of processing such as SNAP with its
two versions (python dependent and stand-alone). We obtain an occupation map with six classes (dry salty soils, fine sand,
medium sand, vegetation, agricultural land, and buildings) with a surface area of salt soils reaching 23% of the total surface area
against only 14% of vegetation that is still likely to decrease. These methods allowed us not only to delimit the region affected by
the excess salt with more or less intensity but also to highlight its impact on the quality of the vegetation.

Keywords Salinization . Sentinel-2 . Classification . Index . ANN . K-means

Introduction anthropogenic origin such as poor irrigation management


using poor-quality water, excessive use of fertilizers, and
Several causes can lead to soil degradation, but salinization others (Fan et al. 2012; Trnka et al. 2013).
remains the main and best known. Worldwide, every minute, We can recognize salty soil through several clues such as
3 ha of arable land are lost due to salinity, often irreparably. white or gypsum scabs, the presence of halophytic plants, lack
This represents 1.57 million ha lost each year due to excessive of vegetation, and poor soil conditions in general
salt concentrations (Legros 2009), particularly in arid and (Daliakopoulos et al. 2016), as most plants have low salinity
semi-arid areas due to their evaporating climate. tolerance which reduces water and nutriment absorption.
When talking about salinity, this does not only concern The Algerian Sahara, representing nearly 90% of the
high concentrations of salts but also of Na+ and CO3 (Van country’s total surface area, or 2 million km2, remains an
Beek and Tóth 2012). important seat that meets all the conditions to guarantee a large
The rise of groundwater table concentrated in salts as well agricultural area, an agricultural surface rich in oligoelements,
as geological and tectonic events can naturally cause the sali- groundwater, and solar energy with enormous potential.
nization of a soil, but the most common cause remains of However, it is one of the driest and hottest deserts in the
world. It is characterized by a very dry and evaporating cli-
mate; therefore, irrigation is indispensable and comes mainly
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Current Advances in from groundwater whose physico-chemical quality is poor,
Geology of North Africa
caused among other things by a high salinity which can ex-
ceed, in some regions, 7 g/l (Khadraoui and Taleb 2012).
* Madina Khelifi Touhami
mkhelifitouhami@usthb.dz Also, the evacuation of this salt water after use in an endoreic
system leads to the rise of the water table, as well as the
1
salinization of this agricultural land which is one of the main
University of Sciences and Technology Houari Boumediene, B.O.P
32 El Alia, Beb ezzouar, 16111 Algiers, Algeria
causes of land sterilization.
548 Page 2 of 12 Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548

In this study, we will deal with the phenomenon of agricul- is marked by the presence of 2 fossil wadis: Miya wadi from
tural land salinization from a qualitative and quantitative point the Tassilli and Gharghar wadi which would come from the
of view through the spatial mapping of a region affected by Ahagar massif. These two wadis flow together for about
this problem, the Touggourt region (Fig. 1). To do this, we use 30 km south of Touggourt and are extended by the Oued
satellite imagery that has proven its efficiency in the field of Righ, which has a very clear slope towards the Chott
agriculture, particularly in crop classification, crop health as- Merouane coast (Perennes 1979).
sessment, estimating the total production of a crop, mapping From the geological perspective; the center of the basin is
soil characteristics, and others. occupied by Quaternary and Tertiary deposits; in the south,
We use Sentinel-2 images, which are of very good resolution, Paleozoic outcrops are observed, while at the borders, out-
by combining several methods such as band ratios and classifi- crops of Mesozoic and Cenozoic formations have been iden-
cation, while taking into account real data collected in situ. tified (Busson and Lebeau 1967).
The average annual temperature rises to 22° with low rain-
fall rates reaching 10 mm per year, making de Touggourt
Data and methods region an arid zone (Boulghorba et al. 2016).
Given the aridity of its climate, agriculture in the region is
Study site only possible by irrigation; however, the region’s water re-
sources are limited to groundwater. In addition to high-
Touggourt occupies the southern part of one of Algeria’s salinity water table, Touggourt is tributary to the Northern
largest and most ancient agricultural regions, the Oued Sahara aquifer system that spans Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya
Righ valley, an economic entity that includes nearly 50 and which is formed by two main aquifers (Ministry of Water
oases and covers nearly 20,000 ha of palm trees (Belksier Resources 2009):
2017). It is located on the northwestern part of the Grand
Erg Oriental between the longitudes 5° 47′; 6° 10′ east and & Intercalary Continental (IC), which covers more than
the latitudes 32° 53′; 34° 10′ north (Boulghorba et al. 2016) 600,000 km 2 ; this aquifer is characterized by an
(Fig. 2). artesianism, a generally high temperature (around 60°)
The Oued Righ valley is borded, to the north by Biskra, to and high flow rates. It is a calcaro-magnesium sulphate
the east by Ouedy Souf valley, and to the southwest by the water, having a salinity < 2 g/l.
Ouargla’s oases, forming a south-north depression with 1‰ & Terminal Complex (TC) covering more than 350,000 km2;
slope, over a lengh of 150 km and a width of 20 km consisting of 2 aquifers: the Mio-Pliocene (so-called sand
(Mohamedou Ould Baba 2005). The orientation of this valley slick) at a depth of about 100 m with a high salt content of

a b c

d e f

Fig. 1 Salt accumulation in the Touggourt region. a Touggourt palm salt in the soil, d groundwater upwelling due to poor drainage manage-
trees planted in a soil with high salinity, b accumulation of salt on the ment, and e a small salty water channel with a white salty bottom (drain-
surface, c palm trees damaged (asphyxiated) due to high concentration of age system)
soluble salt, d cherry tomato plant weakened by the high concentration of
Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548 Page 3 of 12 548

Fig. 2 Location of Oued Righ valley in Algeria (modified from the geological map of Algeria) (Fabre et al. 1978)

up to 7 g/l, and the Senonien Slick (calcareous slick) between from the aquifer system of the Northern Sahara, practiced
150 and 300 m deep with a lower salinity (2 to 3 g/l). through Seguia, often made of clay, which causes numerous
losses due to evaporation and lateral leaks (M.W.R. 2009).
Groundwater has been overexploited, leading to a decrease All these problems in the Oued Righ region have been the
in its piezometric level. This has encouraged consumers to subject of several studies, for example, Belksier et al. (2016),
drill down to the Albian groundwater without reducing their Bouznad et al. (2016), Koull and Chehma (2014), El
consumption which caused a decrease in its pressure. Thus, Fergougui et al. (2016), and Mihoub et al. (2015).
the groundwater table was replenished by infiltration of irri-
gated water from the TC and IC groundwater and the ground- Data
water table. However, the recharge exceeded the capacity of
the aquifer and caused flooding. The Sentinel-2-B level 2A satellite image was freely
In addition to that, gravity irrigation predominates in the Oued downloaded; thanks to the Copernicus Open Access Hub
Righ region and is located in 90% of the irrigated areas. This which makes its products available to the general public
mode causes serious problems of loss of deep fossil groundwater through the website https://scihub.copernicus.eu/dhus/.
548 Page 4 of 12 Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548

Taken on 02 January 2019, over the north-east of south Methods


Algeria, this multispectral image have thirteen bands with
a pixel resolution of 60 m (band 1, band 9, and band 10), Remote sensing is an inescapable method today that has
20 m (band 5, band 6, band 7, band 8a, band 11, band 12) revolutionized modern science; it encompasses the whole
, and 10 m (band 2, band 3, band 4, and band 8). process of capturing and recording the energy of electro-
Several pre-treatments were used (such as resampling and magnetic radiation emitted or reflected, processing and
subset) to produce an image covering only the study area analyzing information, and then implementing it. Fast
(Fig. 3), ready to be processed and classified. These pre- and economical, it allows the presence of salt to be de-
treatments as well as almost treatments that we will apply tected without being in direct contact with the soil, con-
afterwards are carried out under the SNAP software with its trary to the traditional salinity measurement method,
two versions (standalone and python dependent) specially de- which consists of collecting in situ samples to determine
signed for the analysis and processing of Sentinel images. the electrical conductivity or the concentration of solute,
We also dispose some field data: samples recovered from and which has a very high time and money impact.
boreholes and analyzed in the laboratory to obtain values of Several types of noise can affect remote sensing data;
electrical conductivity and dry residue depending on the excessive salt accumulation affect the spectral response
amount of salts present in situ. These data will play a major of the soil due to the alteration of its properties; it affect
role in the choice of regions of interest (ROI) in addition to the also the spectral signature of vegetations which can vary
use of previous land cover maps and studies. depending to their salt tolerance degree. Satellite imagery
has been frequently used to map salt-affected areas; we
site for example the following: Hick et al. (1984), Goetz
and Herring (1989), Mougenot et al. (1993), Dehaan and
Taylor (2003), Fernández-Buces et al. (2006), Fallah
Shamsi et al. (2013), and Ivushkin et al. (2017).
In this paper, multivariate methods were used in or-
der to detect salt presence, extension, and effect by
starting with the calculation of some salinity and vege-
tation indices, then we moved on to the classification of
Sentinel-2 multispectral image; we first applied the K-
means clustering, then we applied a supervised classifi-
cation handled by the feed-forward neural networks
method.

Vegetation and salinity indices

Vegetation indices are a useful way of informing us


about the quality of vegetation by taking into consider-
ation its photosynthetic activity. They are calculated
using mathematical relationships between the different
bands of a multispectral image (Huete et al. 2002).
As the presence of salt leads to a degradation of soil fertility
and therefore on the quantity and quality of vegetation, the
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) has been
calculated to highlight these alterations.
Salinity indices are also used to identify the presence of salt
and its spread using also different mathematical relations be-
tween different bands (e.g., Rouse et al. 1974; Major et al.
1990).
Most commune and used indices are represented in Table 1
where NIR, R, G, B, b2, b3, b4, and b8 represent respectively
near infrared, red, green, blue, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 8th bands of
Fig. 3 Sentinel-2 level-2A RGB cropped image used for this study (false the used Sentinel-2 multispectral image (Khelifi Touhami
colors composition for agriculture R, band 11; G, band 8; B, band 2) et al. 2019).
Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548 Page 5 of 12 548

Table 1 Vegetation and salinity index with their respective formula

Vegetation and salinity index Band ratios Sentinel2 bands Reference

Normalized Difference Vegetation Index NDVI ¼ ððNIRþR


NIR−RÞ
Þ NDVI ¼ ððb8þb4
b8−b4Þ
Þ Rous et al., 1974
Normalized Difference Salinity Index NDSI ¼ ððRþNIR
R−NIRÞ
Þ NDSI ¼ ððb4þb8
b4−b8Þ
Þ Major et al. 1990
ðR−NIRÞ ðb4−b8Þ
Salinity Ratio SR ¼ ðGþNIRÞ SR ¼ ðb3þb8Þ Dehni and Lounis 2012
pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
Salinity Index1 SI ¼ ðB  RÞ SI ¼ ðb2  b4Þ Dehni and Lounis 2012
pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
Salinity Index2 SI ¼ ðG  RÞ SI ¼ ðb3  b4Þ Khan et al., 2005
Salinity Index3 SI ¼ ðNIRR
G
Þ
SI ¼ ðb8b4
b3
Þ
Abbas and Khan 2007
Vegetation Soil Salinity Index VSSI = 2 × G − 5(R + NIR) VSSI = 2 × b3 − 5(b4 + b8) Dehni and Lounis 2012

Principal component analysis Classification

Multispectral images recorded along the different bands of the One of the most common methods used to process satellite
sensor (13 bands in the case of Sentinel-2 images) are highly images is classification, a method of creating significant the-
correlated, in addition to being subject to distortion (Chitroun matic maps from images. It consists in dividing the whole of
2004), which results in additive noise that is added to the pixel the pixels on an image into a set of classes on the basis of
content. The purpose of principal component analysis (Wold regions whose membership classes are known a priori (super-
et al. 1987) is to condense the information by creating new vised classification) or not (unsupervised or automatic) (Duda
groupings with low correlation factor from each other (Ng and Hart 1973).
2017). Statistically viewed, the first component contains in-
formation on maximum variance, the second component con- Unsupervised classification
tains information on the next variance, and so on.
The algorithm PCA starts by calculating the covariance We started by applying the K-means clustering, which remains
matrices of the image according to formula (1): the simplest and most used technique in unsupervised classifica-
  1 N h k   i tion, especially in the absence of a priori data or information. This
cov X i ; X j ¼ ∑ X i −X i : X kj −X j ð1Þ method is based on the value of the Euclidean distance between
N k¼1
pixels (Rekiki et al. 2009) which permits it to divide the pixels of
where X1, X2, X3, …, X13 are the variables representing the N an image into a set of clusters. The objective of the K-means
pixels in grayscale of the thirteen images obtained by the clustering is to minimize the objective function E:
spectral sensors, and X i ¼ N1 ∑Nj¼1 X i is the mean of these var-
iables calculated according to i = 1, 2, 3, …, 13. k n 
 ð jÞ 2

E ¼ ∑ ∑ xi −c j  ð6Þ
The covariance matrix C composed of covariances be- j¼1 i¼1
tween the variables where i, j = 1, 2, 3, ...13. is done by:
 
    ð jÞ 2
C ¼ Cov X i ; X j ð2Þ where xi −c j  is the distance function, k the number of clus-
1313

ters, n the number of pixels, xi the pixel i, and cj centroid for


Then the calculation of the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of cluster j.
the covariance matrix is carried out. Eigenvalues are the The standard K-means algorithm contains 4 steps:
values that verify:

det ðC−λ:Id Þ ¼ 0 ð3Þ 1. Centroid of cluster selection (choose randomly k pixels).


2. Assignment of pixels to each cluster based on Euclidean
In our case, thirteen eigenvalues λ1, λ2, λ3, …, λ13 associ- distance to determine the assignment and recalculate new
ated with thirteen eigenvectors V1, V2, V3, …, V13 were ob- ones.
tained so that: 3. Check whether old and new centers are no different be-
tween two iterations (± a tolerance level).
C  V i ¼ λi :V i ð4Þ
4. Repeat the last two steps (2, 3) until satisfied with 3.
From these eigenvectors, we can obtain the principal com-
ponents Pi; In the first step, the centers of the classes are chosen
in this case according to an equitable distribution of the
N h  i
Pki ¼ ∑ V kj : X ij −X i ð5Þ histogram of the image without taking into consider-
j¼1
ation the voids (hide).
548 Page 6 of 12 Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548

Fig. 4 Vegetation and salinity Max Max


index. a NDVI, bSI, c SI2, and a b
d VSSI

Min Min

Max Max
c d

Min Min

This initialization policy ensures that the centers will al- However, the random selection of cluster centroids in
ways be selected in the same order, which is essential for class step “1” has a direct impact on the final classified image
headlanding. quality, not forgetting the fact that in the absence of real
In order to validate the results of K-means, it is nec- data, it is difficult to predict the number of class k. In this
essary to calculate a confusion matrix calculating the case, it becomes necessary to use a complementary classi-
error between the classified image and regions of fication method that has proven its effectiveness and com-
interest. pare the different results.
Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548 Page 7 of 12 548

hidden network layer. All neurons x j in a particular layer is


connected with all neurons x i in the next layer by means of
weights wij. The output value of the ith neuron xi is determined
by the two following equations (Svozil et al. 1997):
xi ¼ f ð X i Þ ð7Þ
X i ¼ β i þ ∑ wij x j ð8Þ
j

where Xi is the potential of the ith neuron, βi the threshold


coefficient of the neural network, and f(Xi) the transfer
function.
The activation function is the sigmoid (logistic) given by:
1
f ðX i Þ ¼ ð9Þ
1 þ e−x
The objective of the process is to vary weights and bias
(threshold) in order to minimize the sum of the squared dif-
ferences between the computed and desired outputs values.

 2
E ¼ ∑ xo −xo ð10Þ
o

where xo is the vector composed if the computed values and bxo


the vector composed of the desired values.
We began the training with random values of the weights and
bias and proceed iteratively. In each iteration, the network adjusts
the weights and threshold in order to reduce the error using back-
propagation algorithm based on the following two equations


ðkþ1Þ ðk Þ ∂E k
wij ¼ wij −γ ð11Þ
∂wij

k
ðkþ1Þ ðk Þ ∂E
βi ¼ wij −γ ð12Þ
Fig. 5 Principal component analysis RGB image (false color
∂βi
composition of components 1, 2, and 3)
where γ is the rate of learning (γ > 0)
The best neural network topology is obtained with three
Supervised classification neurons in the input layer (component 1, component 2, and
component 3 of PCA), six neurons in the output layer
We choose to use the artificial neural network (ANN) classi- (representing the six classes), and one hidden layer.
fication method in order to enhance results. Artificial neural
networks known by their performances to determine generic
model from a set of learning observations simply perform the Results and discussion
best output response estimated from each set of input samples
in the learning process phase. The input data can be of any The results of the calculated vegetation and salinity indices are
type represented in a binary or numerical way. These data can represented by Fig. 4. Concerning salinity indices, we only
also be seen as vectors, and the neural network a vector appli- present the results obtained by the SI (Fig. 4b, SI2 (Fig. 4c,
cation (Gatet 2007). and VSSI (Fig. 4d) because most indices give the same result.
In our study, the supervised classification is performed by Figure 4 a representing the result of the calculation of the
the multilayer feed-forward and back-propagation neural net- NDVI allows us to distinguish between vegetation and other
work algorithms, which consist of a representation of neurons objects because the spectral response of healthy vegetation shows
in successive layers, where the first is the input layer, the last a sudden increase of reflection level at 0.7 μm, while land with
being the output layer, and the intermediate layers being the absence of vegetation has a continuous linear course (SNAP
548 Page 8 of 12 Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548

Fig. 6 Results of K-means


classification with k = 6: the white
a
color represents the salty dry soil
class, the yellow fine sand, the
green vegetation, the brown
agricultural soil, the orange
medium sand, and the gray
buildings

Class Color Frequency Error


Dry Salty soil 23.063% 7.29%
Fine sand 19.775% 0.00%
Vegetation 17.451% 0.00%
Agricultural soil 15.186% 44.83%
Medium sand 13.249% 1.92%
Buildings 11.276% 50.55%

Class Color Frequency Error


Dry Salty soil 22.869% 1.73%
Fine sand 19.930% 0.00%
Vegetation 16.734% 0.00%
Agricultural soil 15.235% 47.72%
Medium sand 13.581% 1.68%
Buildings 11.652% 39.14%

2018). It shows that the region is poor in vegetation; this is present and are extended over a large part of the study
explained by the harmful effect of the high presence of soluble region with more or less intensity. We note that the
salts in this area; agriculture is mainly concentrated along the high presence of salt has led to a significant absence
“Oued Righ canal” and is almost absent elsewhere. of vegetation. The VSSI (Fig. 4d) representing the sa-
Except for the determination between of the vegetation and linity level in the vegetation shows that even where
other thematic, the NDVI is used to detect the vigor of the veg- there is vegetation, the land is highly affected by salt
etation; the high level of reflection is synonym of the high chlo- accumulation (Khelifi Touhami et al. 2019); this can be
rophyll activity. The NDVI result shows that vegetation has a explain by the presence of halophytic plants (plants that
low to moderate vitality due to the presence of salts. tolerates salt).
After calculating the different salinity indices (Fig. Before performing the classification methods, the PCA was
4b–d), we notice that salt-affected areas are highly calculated to reduce the image size, condense the information,
Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548 Page 9 of 12 548

Fig. 7 Confusion matrix between


classified image (using k-means
clustering) and reference image
using regions of interest

and reduce noise as mentioned above. Figure 5 shows a RGB of error exceeding 40%, which is why the use of a supervised
image composed of the 3 first components. method becomes essential to improve results and minimize
The results of the application of K-means method are this error.
shown in Fig. 6. The clustering method by K-means was ap- Nevertheless, K-means gives us a general idea of the dif-
plied to the first three components of the PCA respectively; we ferent thematic present in the study area; it divides hold image
present here the results of the first component (Fig. 6a). As the into 6 different classes (dry salty land,vegetation (palm trees),
errors had a relatively high value, we then applied it to the fine sand, medium sand, agricultural land, and buildings). The
combination of the first three components thus giving better class salt occupies 23% of the total area.
results (Fig. 6b). However, we notice that both classes (agri- Figure 7 represents the confusion matrix comparing the
cultural land and buildings) represent a fairly high percentage results of the classified image with K-means by taking into

Fig. 8 Results of ANN


classification with the respective
correlations. The white color
represents the salty dry soil class,
the yellow fine sand, the green
vegetation, the brown agricultural
soil, the orange medium sand, and Class Color Frequency Error
the black buildings Dry Salty soil 22.87 % 0%
Fine sand 23.93 % 16.8%
Vegetation 13.70 % 0.00%
Agricultural soil 15.68 % 4.89%
Medium sand 12.82 % 2.16%
Buildings 11.00 % 1.32%
548 Page 10 of 12 Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548

Fig. 9 Confusion matrix between


classified image (using neural
network classification) and
reference image using regions of
interest

account the three first components of the PCA with those of relatively low error rates compared with K-means clustering,
the reference image. We obtain an overall accuracy of about producing a more accurate and reliable map.
73%. We will try, using neural networks, to improve the re- Figure 9 summarizes the results of confusion matrix; it
sults obtained by implementing several in situ data as well as represents the number and percentage of pixels assigned to
the results of salinity and vegetation indices. each class. It shows very good results: an overall accuracy
The results of the ANN classification are depicted in Fig. 8, of 94.7911% and a kappa coefficient of 0.9367.
where we used as an input the first three components of the The method of classification by feed-forward neural net-
principal component analysis. We obtain six classes (dry salty work is much more precise than the K-means clustering,
land, fine sand, medium sand, vegetation, agricultural land, thanks to the implementation of ROI and the assistance of a
and building). The salty dry soil class has a percentage of supervisor.
22.87 very close to that found with the K-means clustering, Figure 10 represents the spectral response of each class: dry
which confirms the results obtained. All classes show salty land,fine sand, medium sand, buildings, palm trees, and

Fig. 10 Spectral reflectance of the 6 clusters (dry salt land, fine sand, medium sand, buildings, agricultural land, and vegetation)
Arab J Geosci (2020) 13:548 Page 11 of 12 548

agricultural land. We note that the dry salty land class has a any outlet or pipe, this generates this salt overload. 2) In the
very high spectral relfectance in the visible and near infrared absence of an agricultural land development plan and assistance
which confirms the results obtained because salt surfaces ex- to farmers, the latter use their own means which often remains
press a high reflectance in the visible and near infrared as limited and conventional and have no futuristic vision. The tech-
already proven by Schmid et al. (2008), Singh and Sirohi nique used for land clearance is based on two principles: The
(1994), and Rao et al. (1995) coverage of land affected by salt by other own brought back from
We also note the almost unique presence of date palm an area where the salt content is low or even zero; Washing by
as a type of vegetation, being a halophytic plant, i.e., salt- cyclic irrigation and dumping salt water anywhere, this creates
tolerant; this effectively proves the presence of salt in the reservoirs of water loaded with salt and easily detectable by
lands of this region, moreover the continuous increase in satellite imagery. As a solution, we propose to lay out pipes
reflectance in the visble and near infrared range, as it has between each plot to accumulate the water loaded with salt and
been proven by Metternicht (1998) who indeed confirm route it to a single depot. It is possible to take advantages of this
what has been deduced. excess of salt by using it in energy production. Indeed, the most
recent research aimed at replacing Lithium in batteries suggests
the use of salts (especially Sodium) which remain more abundant
Conclusion and less expensive. We also propose finding an alternative to the
plant species currently cultivated in the region, knowing that
Salinization of agricultural land is a very common problem there are halophytic species and even species that can absorb salt.
and is one of the main causes of land degradation, particularly Therefore, close collaboration with biology specialists will cer-
in arid and semi-arid regions, causing the loss of several mil- tainly bring an improvement in the quality of the land and agri-
lion hectares of arable land around the world each year. cultural production.
In this study, we have attempted to carry out a spatial study
of the extension of salt-affected areas in one of the largest
agricultural regions of the oases of the north-eastern
Algerian Sahara; the Touggourt region is known for its very
dry and evaporating climate, accentuating the natural origin of References
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