In Algeria, arid and semi-arid regions occupy over than 95% of whole territory. Forests in the semi arid zone constitutes a front face to the advance of the desert towards northern sides. Like in other regions of the world, deforestation phenomenon have a serious consequences on the fragile ecosystem. Severe continuous drought, fires, pasture, insects as well as the absence of a clear forest politics are so many factors that reduced forest areas in this country. However, the conservation of this patrimony must be a priority of any regional development project.
This paper describes an evaluating study of the deforestation impact on forests in the region of Djelfa situated in the Saharian Atlas using multitemporal satellite remote sensing data. In order to establish a forest change map, a methodology based on the comparison between normalized difference vegetation indexes (NDVI) generated from satellite images was adopted. For this purpose, a pair of Landsat and (ETM+) images acquired over the region on April 11th, 1987 and march 24th, 2001 have been used.
Until being processed, data used have been geometrically and atmospherically corrected. Then, an (NDVI) have been produced for each date. Resulting from compared (NDVI) image presents the forest change map in the study area. Radiometric values of resulting image have been regrouped into three classes according to change types as follow :
Increased radiometry = more active vegetation
Decreased radiometry = deterioration in vegetation activity
Non changed areas = Non changed
Investigations made on the terrain permitted to interpret many causes of detected evolutions. Regressive changes were considerable and demonstrates however, the degradation effect on the vegetation state. Some of regressed radiometry are related to forest fires that affected the region in 1994. Almost of regressive changes are due to a deterioration of vegetation caused by multiple factors. Drought, deceases, pasture and infection are considered among the factors permitting the reduction of vegetative cover in these regions. Increased (NDVI) tones concerned generally reforested areas and are due to the fact that young plantations still more dense during the period 1987-2001. Other progressed changes are associated to the presence of some clouds in 1987.
Despite the limits of adopted methodology, we can say that resulting change map reflects the impact of deforestation on the region. It remains a helpful document for decision makers to take the preventive measures at least to decrease forest degradation.