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Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1192–1207 | Cite as

Deforestation trends and spatial modelling of its drivers in the dry temperate forests of northern Pakistan — A case study of Chitral

  • Khuram Shehzad
  • Faisal M. QamerEmail author
  • M. S. R. Murthy
  • Sawaid Abbas
  • Laxmi D. Bhatta
Article

Abstract

Deforestation is a major environmental challenge in the mountain areas of Pakistan. The study assessed trends in the forest cover in Chitral tehsil over the last two decades using supervised land cover classification of Landsat TM satellite images from 1992, 2000, and 2009, with a maximum likelihood algorithm. In 2009, the forest cover was 10.3% of the land area of Chitral (60,000 ha). The deforestation rate increased from 0.14% per annum in 1992–2000 to 0.54% per annum in 2000–2009, with 3,759 ha forest lost over the 17 years. The spatial drivers of deforestation were investigated using a cellular automaton modelling technique to project future forest conditions. Accessibility (elevation, slope), population density, distance to settlements, and distance to administrative boundary were strongly associated with neighbourhood deforestation. A model projection showed a further loss of 23% of existing forest in Chitral tehsil by 2030, and degradation of 8%, if deforestation continues at the present rate. Arandu Union Council, with 2212 households, will lose 85% of its forest. Local communities have limited income resources and high poverty and are heavily dependent on non-timber forest products for their livelihoods. Continued deforestation will further worsen their livelihood conditions, thus improved conservation efforts are essential.

Keywords

Remote sensing Drivers of deforestation Cellular automata 

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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khuram Shehzad
    • 1
  • Faisal M. Qamer
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. S. R. Murthy
    • 1
  • Sawaid Abbas
    • 2
  • Laxmi D. Bhatta
    • 1
  1. 1.International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)KathmanduNepal
  2. 2.The Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, Kowloon, Hong KongChina

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