The present paper attempts to evolve a new model by considering various indicators of different types of land degradation or desertification, namely, water erosion, soil salinity, vegetation degradation, and lowering of ground water table for finding areas with higher rate of degradation. The Runiz basin, located in the southern Iran, has been selected as a study area to assess the hazard of desertification. The thresholds for the severity classes of indicators were established and then the hazard map for each indicator of types of desertification has been prepared in a GIS. The risk classes of different risk maps were calculated on the basis of classification of risk scores derived by cumulative effect of all the attributes of indicators after overlying them in the GIS. It was possible to distinguish the areas under ‘actual risk’ from areas under ‘potential risk’ of desertification types. Also areas under potential risk were classified to subclasses with different probability level to show a statistical picture of risk in future. The final map of risk of desertification was produced by overlaying all four maps of degradation types. Results show that potential risk areas and areas under actual risk are almost equal, indicating further threat of desertification in future in the half of the region. Also severe condition in the half of region shows environmentally bad situation in the study area. It is hoped that this attempt using GIS will be found applicable for other regions of the world.
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Vol. 65 • No. 2