Assessing the environmental impacts of human settlements using satellite data

Cristina Milesi, Ramakrishna R. Nemani, Steven W. Running, Christopher D. Elvidge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In the last 50 years, the Mediterranean Basin has experienced a doubling of its population. This demographic growth has been the cause of extensive land use changes that have undermined the ecological stability of large portions of its fragile ecosystems. The population of the Mediterranean countries is expected to grow by another 20 percent in the next 25 years, further increasing the pressure on the natural resources. In this paper, we present a methodology combining photosynthetic activity and human settlements both derived from satellite data for monitoring the effects of human settlements on the environment. We found photosynthesis decreasing as one moves from rural to urban settings in the north and increasing in the south Mediterranean countries. Regional scale assessments using this approach may help policy makers in designing appropriate measures to combat further environmental degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-107
Number of pages9
JournalManagement of Environmental Quality: An International Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Algeria
  • Environment
  • Geographical information systems
  • Greece
  • Land use


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