Long term changes in forest cover and land use of Similipal Biosphere Reserve of India using satellite remote sensing data
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The spatial changes in forest cover of Similipal biosphere reserve, Odisha, India over eight decades (1930–2012) has been quantified by using multi-temporal data from different sources. Over the period, the forest cover reduced by 970.8 km2 (23.6% of the total forest), and most significantly during the period, 1930–1975. Human-induced activities like conversion of forest land for agriculture, construction of dams and mining activities have been identified as major drivers of deforestation. Spatial analysis indicates that 399 grids (1 grid = 1 × 1 km) have undergone large-scale changes in forest cover (>75 ha) during 1930–1975, while only 3 grids have shown >75 ha loss during 1975–1990. Annual net rate of deforestation was 0.58 during 1930–1975, which has been reduced substantially during 1975–1990 (0.04). Annual gross rate of deforestation in 2006–2012 is indeed low (0.01) as compared to the national and global average. This study highlights the impact and effectiveness of conservation practices in minimizing the rate of deforestation and protecting the Similipal Biosphere Reserve.
KeywordsDeforestation conservation biosphere reserve satellite data Similipal.
The present study has been carried out under the National project ‘Inventorisation and Monitoring of Biosphere Reserves in India using Remote Sensing and GIS technology’, supported by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Authors are grateful to Dr V K Dadhwal, Director, NRSC and Dr C S Jha, Group Director, Forestry and Ecology Group, NRSC for facilities and encouragement. Authors are also thankful to Chief Wildlife Warden and Field Director, Similipal Biosphere Reserve and State Forest Department of Odisha for permission and support to carry out the field work.
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