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AUC GEOGRAPHICA, Vol 58 No 2 (2023), 172–186

Assessment of forest cover and forest loss using satellite images in Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam

Bui B. Thien, Vu T. Phuong, Akinola A. Komolafe

published online: 01. 11. 2023


Deforestation in the tropics continues inexorably with severe implications for biodiversity conservation, climate regulation and ecosystem services. This study investigated variation in forest cover in Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam, using the Landsat Thematic Mapper and Operational Land Imager satellite images over the period 1989–2021. Imageries were classified using the maximum likelihood classification technique for the years 1989, 2006, and 2021 and were evaluated for accuracy using the kappa coefficient for each year. Furthermore, forest cover losses and gains were evaluated using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index, which were compared with the output of the supervised classification. Results showed that the forest cover of Thua Thien Hue province has drastically declined over the years. The forest cover, which was estimated at 68.88% (3461.46 km2) of the total land area in 1989, increased to 69.04% (3469.51 km2) in 2006 and subsequently decreased to 57.55% (2891.81 km2) in 2021. Severely reduced forest cover is often associated with the expansion of agriculture on the forest edge; other contributing factors include logging, illegal production land, and forest fires. Overall, our results show the necessity of forest management, rational land-use planning policy, and increased community awareness of conservation and sustainable development of forest resources in the study area in the future.

keywords: forest cover; vegetation index; remote sensing; GIS; Thua Thien Hue province

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