We used the Cellular Automata Markov (CA-Markov) integrated technique to study land use and land cover (LULC) changes in the Cholistan and Thal deserts in Punjab, Pakistan. We plotted the distribution of the LULC throughout the desert terrain for the years 1990, 2006 and 2022. The Random Forest methodology was utilized to classify the data obtained from Landsat 5 (TM), Landsat 7 (ETM+) and Landsat 8 (OLI/TIRS), as well as ancillary data. The LULC maps generated using this method have an overall accuracy of more than 87%. CA-Markov was utilized to forecast changes in land usage in 2022, and changes were projected for 2038 by extending the patterns seen in 2022. A CA-Markov-Chain was developed for simulating long-term landscape changes at 16-year time steps from 2022 to 2038. Analysis of urban sprawl was carried out by using the Random Forest (RF). Through the CA-Markov Chain analysis, we can expect that high density and low-density residential areas will grow from 8.12 to 12.26 km2 and from 18.10 to 28.45 km2 in 2022 and 2038, as inferred from the changes occurred from 1990 to 2022. The LULC projected for 2038 showed that there would be increased urbanization of the terrain, with probable development in the croplands westward and northward, as well as growth in residential centers. The findings can potentially assist management operations geared towards the conservation of wildlife and the eco-system in the region. This study can also be a reference for other studies that try to project changes in arid are as undergoing land-use changes comparable to those in this study.
- change detection
- Thal and Cholistan