Monitoring of rapid land cover changes in eastern Japan using Terra/MODIS data
- 1Department of Informatics, Tokyo University of Information Sciences, Chiba, Japan
- 2Graduate School of Landscape Design and Management, University of Hyogo/Awaji Landscape Planning and Horticulture, Hyogo, Japan
Keywords: Vegetation Map, National Survey of the Natural Environment, Landscape Changes, Terra/MODIS, Landsat, LTS, the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake
Abstract. Vegetation and land cover in Japan are rapidly changing. Abandoned farmland in 2010, for example, was 396,000 ha, or triple that of 1985. Efficient monitoring of changes in land cover is vital to both conservation of biodiversity and sustainable regional development. The Ministry of Environment is currently producing 1/25,000 scale vegetation maps for all of Japan, but the work is not yet completed. Traditional research is time consuming, and has difficulty coping with the rapid nature of change in the modern world. In this situation, classification of various scale remotely sensed data can be of premier use for efficient and timely monitoring of changes in vegetation.. In this research Terra/MODIS data is utilized to classify land cover in all of eastern Japan. Emphasis is placed on the Tohoku area, where large scale and rapid changes in vegetation have occurred in the aftermath of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011. Large sections of coastal forest and agricultural lands, for example, were directly damaged by the earthquake or inundated by subsequent tsunami. Agricultural land was also abandoned due to radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. The classification results are interpreted within the framework of a Landscape Transformation Sere model developed by Hara et al (2010), which presents a multi-staged pattern for tracking vegetation changes under successively heavy levels of human interference. The results of the research will be useful for balancing conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems with the needs for regional redevelopment.