VegTrends – University of Copenhagen

Earth Observation based Vegetation productivity and
Land Degradation Trends in Global Drylands

Land degradation in arid and semi-arid lands (drylands) affects the wellbeing of 250 million people worldwide through potential reductions in vegetation productivity in cultivated land and rangeland for livestock. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) states that 10-20% of drylands are already degraded consequently land degradation is among the most pressing of contemporary environmental issues today. However, one of the constraining issues is a lack of scientifically robust methods for monitoring and assessment of land degradation.

The overarching goal of the project is to develop improved Earth Observation based methods for dryland degradation assessment including a better understanding of the drivers for changes. Project objectives can be summarised as:

  • Improving canopy water stress detection
  • Developing methods to better quantify Net Primary Productivity (NPP)
  • Assessing the extent and severity of land degradation in global drylands (desertification) and understating the drivers for observed changes.