Remote sensing applied to land use and erosion hazard studies in Jamaica

  • Peter Collier

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The northern half of the parish of St. Catherine in Jamaica was selected as a test area to study, by means of remote sensing, the problems of soil erosion in a tropical environment.
An initial study was carried out to determine whether eroded land within this environment could be successfully interpreted and mapped from the available 1: 25,000 scale aerial photographs. When satisfied that a sufficiently high percentage of the eroded land could be interpreted on the aerial photographs the main study was initiated. This involved interpreting the air photo cover of the study area for identifying and classifying land use and eroded land, and plotting the results on overlays on topographic base maps. These overlays were then composited with data on the soils and slopes of the study area. The areas of different soil type/slope/land use combinations were then measured, as was the area of eroded land for each of these combinations.
This data was then analysed in two ways. The first way involved determining
which of the combinations of soil type, slope and land use were most and least eroded and, on the basis of this, to draw up recommendations concerning
future land use.
The second analysis was aimed at determining which of the three factors, soil type, slope and land use, was most responsible for determining the rate of erosion. Although it was possible to show that slope was not very
significant in determining the rate of erosion, it was much more difficult to separate the effects of land use and soil type. The results do, however, suggest that land use is more significant than soil type in determining the rate of erosion within the study area.
Date of Award1980
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorW.G. Collins (Supervisor)


  • aerial photography
  • soil erosion
  • land use
  • Jamaica

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