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Wageningen University (2020)

Assessment of desert extension and soil salinity in Mirzachul Steppe, Uzbekistan

Khasanov, Sayidjakhon

Titre : Assessment of desert extension and soil salinity in Mirzachul Steppe, Uzbekistan

Auteur : Khasanov, Sayidjakhon

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) Environmental Systems Analysis 2020

Résumé partiel
Uzbekistan has an arid climate and 85% of its territory consists of desert. This makes Uzbekistan vulnerable to desertification (desert extension). The consequent high evaporation rate of saline irrigation water and mineralized groundwater increases soil salinization. This salinization expands the deserts and these results in many complaints to the government on loss of arable land from the local farmers. As a response, the responsible institutions sent scientists to carefully study this situation. Their studies, however, neither quantified nor estimated the severity of this desert extension. Salinization damages crops and this has hampered the country’s economy. Approximately one 1 billion US dollars are lost each year. In addition, the responsible institutions still use a time-consuming, costly and non-spatially specific in-situ soil salinity assessment method as their primary method. Therefore, I did two experiments that consider all of the above-mentioned aspects. The first experiment assesses the desert extension by monitoring sand dynamics in the Mirzachul Steppe by using GIS and remote sensing tools, and by applying scenarios that tackle the desert extension. The second experiment assesses soil salinity and compares in-situ and GIS-based methods by applying a multi-criteria decision analysis to identify the current perception of the responsible institutions. To assess the desert extension, satellite images were downloaded to create a preliminary map of soil mechanic content. This analysis was conducted for the period 1994 to 2018 and the average annual rate of desert extension was determined. This rate accounted for 143.2 hectares of desertification per year. I then formulated different scenarios to quantitatively project future states and expected changes till 2050. In total, four scenarios were created in which agroforestry was the main mitigation measure. The gap between these scenarios was a loss of 5,000 hectares of arable land. Narrative storylines were based on these scenarios to visualize the influence of mitigation measures on climate change and soil reactions. T


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