The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Dramatic loss of agricultural land due to urban expansion threatens food security in the Nile Delta, Egypt

Dramatic loss of agricultural land due to urban expansion threatens food security in the Nile Delta, Egypt
Dramatic loss of agricultural land due to urban expansion threatens food security in the Nile Delta, Egypt

Egypt has one of the largest and fastest growing populations in the world. However, nearly 96% of the total land area is uninhabited desert and 96% of the population is concentrated around the River Nile valley and the Delta. This unbalanced distribution and dramatically rising population have caused severe socio-economic problems. In this research, 24 land use/land cover (LULC) maps from 1992 to 2015 were used to monitor LULC changes in the Nile Delta and quantify the rates and types of LULC transitions. The results show that 74,600 hectares of fertile agricultural land in the Nile Delta (Old Lands) was lost to urban expansion over the 24 year period at an average rate of 3108 ha year -1 , whilst 206,100 hectares of bare land was converted to agricultural land (New Lands) at an average rate of 8588 ha year -1 . A Cellular Automata-Markov (CA-Markov) integrated model was used to simulate future alternative LULC change scenarios. Under a Business as Usual scenario, 87,000 hectares of land transitioned from agricultural land to urban areas by 2030, posing a threat to the agricultural sector sustainability and food security in Egypt. Three alternative future scenarios were developed to promote urban development elsewhere, hence, with potential to preserve the fertile soils of the Nile Delta. A scenario which permitted urban expansion into the desert only preserved the largest amount of agricultural land in the Nile Delta. However, a scenario that encouraged urban expansion into the desert and adjacent to areas of existing high population density resulted in almost the same area of agricultural land being preserved. The alternative future scenarios are valuable for supporting policy development and planning decisions in Egypt and demonstrating that continued urban development is possible while minimising the threats to environmental sustainability and national food security.

Agricultural land sustainability, CA-Markov, Change detection, Land use/land cover, Remote sensing
2072-4292
1-20
Radwan, Taher M.
f43a01dc-f3ac-4912-add1-86e2d72304e4
Blackburn, G. Alan
50c1da11-52e4-4dc2-9d31-45f18aba6103
Whyatt, J. Duncan
204bf8c7-4ce4-4069-b787-56f659668961
Atkinson, Peter M.
96e96579-56fe-424d-a21c-17b6eed13b0b
Radwan, Taher M.
f43a01dc-f3ac-4912-add1-86e2d72304e4
Blackburn, G. Alan
50c1da11-52e4-4dc2-9d31-45f18aba6103
Whyatt, J. Duncan
204bf8c7-4ce4-4069-b787-56f659668961
Atkinson, Peter M.
96e96579-56fe-424d-a21c-17b6eed13b0b

Radwan, Taher M., Blackburn, G. Alan, Whyatt, J. Duncan and Atkinson, Peter M. (2019) Dramatic loss of agricultural land due to urban expansion threatens food security in the Nile Delta, Egypt. Remote Sensing, 11 (3), 1-20. (doi:10.3390/rs11030332).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Egypt has one of the largest and fastest growing populations in the world. However, nearly 96% of the total land area is uninhabited desert and 96% of the population is concentrated around the River Nile valley and the Delta. This unbalanced distribution and dramatically rising population have caused severe socio-economic problems. In this research, 24 land use/land cover (LULC) maps from 1992 to 2015 were used to monitor LULC changes in the Nile Delta and quantify the rates and types of LULC transitions. The results show that 74,600 hectares of fertile agricultural land in the Nile Delta (Old Lands) was lost to urban expansion over the 24 year period at an average rate of 3108 ha year -1 , whilst 206,100 hectares of bare land was converted to agricultural land (New Lands) at an average rate of 8588 ha year -1 . A Cellular Automata-Markov (CA-Markov) integrated model was used to simulate future alternative LULC change scenarios. Under a Business as Usual scenario, 87,000 hectares of land transitioned from agricultural land to urban areas by 2030, posing a threat to the agricultural sector sustainability and food security in Egypt. Three alternative future scenarios were developed to promote urban development elsewhere, hence, with potential to preserve the fertile soils of the Nile Delta. A scenario which permitted urban expansion into the desert only preserved the largest amount of agricultural land in the Nile Delta. However, a scenario that encouraged urban expansion into the desert and adjacent to areas of existing high population density resulted in almost the same area of agricultural land being preserved. The alternative future scenarios are valuable for supporting policy development and planning decisions in Egypt and demonstrating that continued urban development is possible while minimising the threats to environmental sustainability and national food security.

Text
remote sensing 11 00332 v2 - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (15MB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 4 February 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 February 2019
Keywords: Agricultural land sustainability, CA-Markov, Change detection, Land use/land cover, Remote sensing

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428327
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428327
ISSN: 2072-4292
PURE UUID: ffe531e4-8218-47b9-a8de-95098ef0dc35
ORCID for Peter M. Atkinson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5489-6880

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Feb 2019 17:30
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 16:41

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×