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Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management
Damen, M. C. J.

aspects of Xinjiang. SIR-A imagery used in this
study provides the first opportunity for targeting
applications, where spaceborne SAR can be useful for
land use, natural resource and terrain analysis in
the Kashagar region.
Terrain units previously classified on LANDSAT
imagery for other parts of the province, can also he
identified with considerable detail in the Kashgar
region on SIR-A imagery. Different topographic
features and physiographic regions of the Pamirs may
be differentiated on the radar image despite
displacement and layover effects of high-relief
alpine landforms. However, boundaries of snow- and
icefields can not be clearly identified for
monitoring seasonal change and meltwater run-off. In
the Tarim Basin, topographic relief is hardly
expressed on the radar image, but different surface
roughness parameters and surface materials of the
sandy desert terrain, the alluvial plain and alluvial
fans each provide distinct signatures.
The SIR-A image also renders a detailed account of
land reclamation, the distribution of irrigation
water, and the afforestation efforts. Forested
windshelter belts are frequently identified features
which in turn provide an excellent indication of
cultivated areas and irrigation schemes. Radar
imaging techniques are regarded as most suitable for
monitoring afforestation in arid regions.
Windshelter belts which otherwise may not be detected
in similar detail on LANDSAT imagery, play a vital
role in the protection of the cultivated areas.
Agricultural development is currently focusing on
marginal lands within the alluvial plains which offer
favourable conditions in terms of topography, soils
and hydrological conditions.
Terrain analysis and continuous monitoring of
cultivated regions in Central Asia by means of
spaceborne imaging radar may offer a powerful tool in
land use management of arid and semi-arid regions.
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