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An Evidential Reasoning Approach to Land Degradation Evaluation: Dempster-Shafer Theory of Evidence

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This study explores the combination of expert and local knowledge for an integrated evaluation of land degradation in southern Mauritania. The expert knowledge uses two imprecise information and uncertainty management tools, Fuzzy measure theory and Dempster-Shafer theory, mediated by expert knowledge, to integrate data collected using local knowledge. Fuzzy measures were found to be an efficient way of handling uncertainty of data compiled from local environmental knowledge and uniformly scaling all land degradation indicator variables to the same numerical range of values. The two techniques allowed scaling and integration of 13 evidential themes characterizing southern Mauritania. The cartographic outputs of this study show the potential of Fuzzy measure theory and Demspter-Shafer theory as powerful complementary environmental resource management tools. On a scale of 0.0 to 1.0, the maps indicate the degree of degradation. The seriousness of land degradation decreases from settlements, roads, and watering points outward. As such, they constitute an excellent guide for resource allocation and rehablitation plans.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2005

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