IDENTIFICATION OF DESERTIFICATION- SENSITIVE AREAS IN THE BRAZILIAN NORTHEAST THROUGH VEGETATION INDICES
ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to identify areas susceptible to drought and under desertification in the Brazilian Northeast, more specifically in the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco, and Sergipe. The study was based on the 2000-2014 time period, relative frequency, Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) dataset derived from MOD13Q1 products (vegetation indices derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer sensor). The areas located within the desertification nucleus of Cabrobó, in the southwestern of Pernambuco and surrounding the Águas Belas municipality were considered susceptible to drought and desertification. Some municipalities in the countryside of Alagoas showed a very low relative frequency of VCI data (45-50%), and occurrence of areas between 55-60%. Tthe Sergipe state presented a relative frequency VCI data around 50% only in the Poço Verde municipality. Among the areas with low rates of VCI and the most frequently identified in this research, therefore, with greater frequency of droughts, the Southwestern and the Southern Pernambuco hinterlands were not considered as pilot areas by MMA (Brazilian Environment Ministry) in its desertification studies and were included as susceptible for desertification in this study. The results suggest the use of this methodology to subsidize formulations of public policies with application in land use and land cover studies or sustainable development and environmental risk analysis.