Desert disturbance assessments of regional oil exploitation by Aster and ETM+ images in Taklimakan Desert China

W. Ouyang, F. Hao, Y. Fu, J. Zhang

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To feed its rapidly growing energy demand, oil exploitation in China has never been more intensive. The most obvious characteristics of oil exploitation are progressive and regional, which can be monitored by remote sensing, such as land use and cover change, either perpetual or temporary, during oil field development such as construction of oil well, roads, transportation systems and other facilities. In this paper, the oil field located on the north edge of Taklimakan Desert, in the Tarim River watershed in northwest of China. The disturbance effects of regional oil exploitation were the main content of regional environmental managements and monitoring. Based on Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Aster images, analyzed regional land use and landscape change from 2001 to 2003. By the comparison, it can be concluded that the ecological quality was deteriorating in these 3 years. The woodland was degrading to grass and dessert. The area of woodland dropped from 9.06 km2 in 2001 to 3.24 km2 in 2003 with a 64.23% decrease. At the same time, the area of shrubbery lessened 18.23%. On the other hand, the whole area of dessert and Saline soils inflated from 15.08 km2 in 2001 to 25.36 km2 in 2003. The patch number of bare land did climb dramatically, but single patch area increased. The research demonstrated that dessert and Saline soils patches were activated by the human behavior and climate change. The information from the ETM+ and Aster images was proved be an effective and efficient way to be applied in regional environmental managements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159–168
JournalEnvironmental monitoring and assessment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • ADLIB-ART-2647
  • NRS
  • n/a OA procedure


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