This paper aims to monitor desertification evolution of different stages and assess its factors using remote sensing (RS)
data and cellular automata (CA)-geographical information system (GIS) with an adaptive analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to derive weights of desertification factors. The study areas (114°E to 117°E and 39.5°to 42.2°N) are one of the important agro-pastoral transitional zone, located in Beijing and its neighboring areas, marginal desertified areas in North China. Desertification information including NDVI and desertification area were derived from the satellite images of 1987TM, 1996TM (with a resolution of 28.5), and 2006 CBERS-(with a resolution of 19.5 m) in study areas. The ancillary data in terms of meteorology, geology, 30m-DEM, hydrography can be statistical analyzed with GIS technology. A CA model based on the desertification factors with AHP-derived weights was built by AML program in ArcGIS workstation to assess the evolution of desertification in different stages (from 1987 to 1996, and from 1996 to 2006). The research results show that desertified areas was increased by 3.28% per year from 1987 to 1996, so was
0.51% per year from 1996 to 2006. Although the weights of desertification factors have some changes in different stages,
the main factors including climate, NDVI, and terrain did not change except the values in study areas.