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Assessing Land-Use Changes Driven by River Dynamics in Chronically Flood Affected Upper Brahmaputra Plains, India, Using Rs-Gis Techniques

  • Hazarika, N.
  • Das, A. K.
  • Borah, S. B.

This work documents land-use changes driven by river dynamics along two tributaries in the chronically flood affected Upper Brahmaputra floodplain which supports a population of more than half a million. Planform changes for a period of 40years are documented using topographical map and Landsat data, and the associated land-use change is assessed by utilising hybrid classification in GIS environment. Quantification of bankline migration shows that the river courses are unstable. A reversal in the rate of erosion and deposition is also observed. Hybrid classification of Landsat images yielded a higher level of accuracy as evident from the confusion matrixes. Overall, the accuracy of land-use classification ranged between 88.5% and 96.25%. Land-use change shows that there is an increase in settlement and agriculture and a decrease in the grassland. The area affected by erosion–deposition and river migration comprises primarily of the agricultural land. Effect of river dynamics on settlements is also evident. Loss of agricultural land and homestead led to the loss of livelihood and internal migration in the floodplains. The observed pattern of river dynamics and the consequent land-use change in the recent decades have thrown newer environmental challenges at a pace and magnitude way beyond the coping capabilities of the dwellers.

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