Analysing Land and Vegetation Cover Dynamics During Last Three Decades in Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, India (2014)

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The change in the tropical forests could be clearly linked to the expansion of the human population and economies. An understanding of the anthropogenic forcing plays an important role in analyzing the impacts of climate change and the fate of tropical forests in the present and future scenario. In the present study, we analyze the impact of natural and anthropogenic factors in forest dynamics in Katerniaghat wildlife sanctuary situated along the Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh state, India. The study site is under tremendous pressure due to anthropogenic factors from surrounding areas since last three decades. The vegetation cover of the sanctuary primarily comprised of Shorea robusta forests, Tectona grandis plantation, and mixed deciduous forest; while the land cover comprised of agriculture, barren land, and water bodies. The classification accuracy was 83.5%, 91.5%, and 95.2% with MSS, IKONOS, and Quickbird datasets, respectively. Shorea robusta forests showed an increase of 16 km2; while Tectona grandis increased by 63.01 km2 during 1975–2010. The spatial heterogeneity in these tropical vegetation classes surrounded by the human dominated agricultural lands could not be addressed using Landsat MSS data due to coarse spatial resolution; whereas the IKONOS and Quickbird satellite datasets proved to advantageous, thus being able to precisely address the variations within the vegetation classes as well as in the land cover classes and along the edge areas. Massive deforestation during 1970s along the adjoining international boundary with Nepal has led to destruction of the wildlife corridor and has exposed the wildlife sanctuary to human interference like grazing and poaching. Higher rates of forest dynamics during the 25-year period indicate the vulnerability of the ecosystem to the natural and anthropogenic disturbances in the proximity of the sanctuary.
Year: 2014
Language: English
In: Journal of Earth System Science, 123 (7): 1467-1479 p.

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