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EFFECTS OF SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION ON VEGETATION COVER: A REMOTE SENSING BASED STUDY IN THE MIDDLE SILLUH VALLEY, NORTHERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0608-02]
Soil and water conservation (SWC) has been implemented in the Tigray region of Ethiopia since 1985. This has led to noticeable increases in vegetation cover. The objective of this study was to quantify vegetation cover as an effect of SWC activities by analyzing associations between the Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), Land Surface Temperature (LST) and Average Annual Precipitation (AAP) between 1985 and 2015. Multi-temporal remote sensing data from Landsat imagery were used to estimate SAVI and LST for the years 1985, 2000, and 2015. Long-term station-based data on daily precipitation from 1973 were aggregated to annual average in three sections to correspond with the image data and then converted into raster format using the Inverse Distance Weight (IDW) technique. Vegetation cover dynamics were quantified by correlations of SAVI with LST, and SAVI with AAP. The results show that there was a statistically significant inverse relationship between SAVI and LST in all the study periods. These improvements in vegetation cover improvements are attributable to the implementation of integrated soil and water conservation measures, particularly in areas where exclosure areas are defined. This paper concludes by providing a theoretical basis and indicator data support for further research on vegetation restoration for the entire region.