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High-resolution earth observation data for assessing the impact of land system changes on wetland health in Kashmir Himalaya, India

Abstract

Wetlands in Kashmir are showing myriad signs of deterioration. In the present study, we assessed the spatio-temporal variations in the land use land cover of a semi-urban Narkara wetland, Kashmir, using high-resolution satellite data of 1965, 1980, and 2016. We also analyzed the impact of land system changes on the health Narkara wetland by estimating soil loss in the catchment of Narkara wetland using Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) in GIS during the observation period. The land system changes indicated a massive increase of ~ 2663% in built-up area, while the area under agriculture showed ~ 78% decrease between 1965 and 2016. Small insignificant changes were manifest in other land cover types as well. The soil erosion estimates for the wetland catchment for 1965, 1980, and 2016 indicate 106.33 t ha−1 soil detachment for 1965, 120.21 t ha−1 for 1980, and 62.16 t ha−1 for 2016. This significant reduction in the soil erosion is attributed to the barren lands and agriculture being taken over by built-up area between 1980 and 2016. The reckless urbanization both within Narkara and its catchment not only affects the hydrology and ecology of this important semi-urban wetland but also increases vulnerability of people to flooding in this part of Himalaya.

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Acknowledgments

The authors express gratitude to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for freely providing the earth observation data for the present analysis. The authors thank Dr. Ashty Saleem, the associate editor, and other two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions on the earlier versions of the manuscript that greatly improved the content and structure of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Irfan Rashid.

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Editorial handling: Joseph Awange

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Rashid, I., Aneaus, S. High-resolution earth observation data for assessing the impact of land system changes on wetland health in Kashmir Himalaya, India. Arab J Geosci 12, 453 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-019-4649-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-019-4649-9

Keywords

  • Land system changes
  • Wetland health
  • RUSLE
  • Remote sensing
  • GIS
  • Narkara
  • Kashmir Himalaya