Vol. 14 No. 3 (2023): (Issue in progress)
Research Article

Understanding Dynamics of Land Use & Land Cover Change Using GIS & Change Detection Techniques in Tartous, Syria

Ali Younes
Department of Geography, Bangalore University, India
Adnan Ahmad
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India
Ashok D. Hanjagi
Department of Geography, Bangalore University, India
Archana M. Nair
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India

Published 2023-07-13


  • LULCC Dynamics,
  • Change Detection,
  • Environmental Impact,
  • Remote Sensing,
  • GIS,
  • Sustainable Land Management,
  • Environmental Conservation,
  • Syria,
  • IDPs,
  • wars
  • ...More

How to Cite

Younes, Ali, Adnan Ahmad, Ashok D. Hanjagi, and Archana M. Nair. 2023. “Understanding Dynamics of Land Use & Land Cover Change Using GIS & Change Detection Techniques in Tartous, Syria”. European Journal of Geography 14 (3):20-41. https://doi.org/10.48088/ejg.a.you.
Received 2023-04-18
Accepted 2023-07-13
Published 2023-07-13


Although Tartous governorate accounts for only 1% of the total land area of Syria, it recorded the highest burden of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) during the Syrian crisis, with nearly half a million IDPs seeking refuge there in 2014. The simultaneous population growth and economic recession exacerbated the exploitation of natural resources and led to environmental degradation. The study aims to understand the dynamics of land use and land cover change (LULCC) in Tartous from 1987 to 2019 by comparing two periods, before and during the crisis, through the integration of remote sensing and GIS using the change detection-based post-classification comparison technique. The results showed significant LULCC that revealed significant changes during the crisis compared to before. However, most of the changes have negative environmental impacts, especially near built-up areas and in the northeast, where natural vegetation decreased by 40% by 2019, of which about 60% is due to agricultural expansion. Conversely, built-up areas have doubled, from 18 km2 in 1987 to 34 km2 in 2019, mainly at the expense of agricultural land. Meanwhile, agricultural land remained the predominant land use, with almost 74% of the study area reflecting primary economic activity. Nevertheless, a particular expansion was recorded during the crisis compared to before. The study highlights the impact of anthropogenic pressures on the environment, especially during wars. The findings provide important insights for policymakers and researchers concerned with sustainable land management and environmental conservation in war-affected regions. It also recommends developing comprehensive, multi-level plans to address the complex challenges in similar contexts.


  • Tartous recorded the highest burden of IDPs in 2014, with more than half a million.
  • The Post-Classification Comparison (PCC) technique is a powerful tool for monitoring the dynamics of LULCC.
  • Significant LULCC was observed, with notable fluctuations during the crisis compared to before.
  • Most of the LULCC had negative environmental impacts, especially in the western and northeastern regions.
  • The growing population and economic recession in Syria put pressure on land resources and affect the environment in the search for livelihoods.


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