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Quantification and Conservation Status of Forests Fragments of Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests—A Geospatial Analysis Running Head: Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests

Abstract

Background. Tropical dry deciduous forests are the most vulnerable ecosystems for fragmentation. Satellite remote sensing data (of various resolutions and temporal availability) helps to study the forest fragmentation at local, regional and global scale. Spatial distribution of fragments at regional scale would provide insight into restoration and connectivity among the fragments, such that wildlife habitat can be protected.

Results.

In the present study the forests of Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh were studied using LANDSAT- OLI (2017) satellite data and the forest fragmentation was quantified using the fragmentation metrics. The forest cover of the district (17.27% of the total geographic area) was delineated into four classes, very dense forest, dense forest, medium dense forest and open forest. Various fragments of size class were also defined in each forest cover. Fragments of size <2, 2–10, 10–50, 50–100, 100–500, and >600 ha were analysed. Presence of Sloth Bear and wildlife was noted in the fragmented forest based on pieces of evidence like scats, termite mounds, and dens.

Conclusion.

In this study, it was observed that the number of fragments in category <2 ha are more in each forest cover class. The suitable wildlife habitat was found to be very dense and dense forest. Thus the need of the hour is to protect these fragmented forests and connect these fragments to allow better movement of large mammals such that their population can thrive. The study also acts as a bench mark in using geospatial technology to define fragmentation. The focus should be on medium dense and open forests. Very dense and dense forests act as refugia which should be protected from further destruction.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We thank the landsat.usgs.gov, for providing free download of Landsat satellite data used for analysis in the study. We also thank the Vindhya Bachao team for collecting ground truth information.

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Correspondence to Laxmi Goparaju, Firoz Ahmad or Debadityo Sinha.

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Conflict of interests. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Statement on the welfare of animals. This article does not contain any studies involving animals performed by any of the authors.

AUTHORS CONTRIBUTION

Laxmi Goparaju proposed, analysed the data and prepared a draft, Firoz Ahmad provided critical analysis for the study and Debadityo Sinha provided field related inputs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The satellite data used in this analysis is available on USGS website. The secondary data used is available on www.vindhyabachao.org. All the authors are engaged in environmental related studies. Laxmi Goparaju is a PhD in Environmental Science and Technology, Firoz Ahmad is MSc in Technology (Remote Sensing and GIS), Debadityo Sinha is MSc in Environmental Science and Technology.

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Laxmi Goparaju, Ahmad, F. & Sinha, D. Quantification and Conservation Status of Forests Fragments of Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests—A Geospatial Analysis Running Head: Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests . Contemp. Probl. Ecol. 12, 629–641 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1995425519060131

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1134/S1995425519060131

Keywords:

  • mirzapur
  • fragments
  • sloth bear
  • conservation
  • geospatial
  • spatial
  • remnants
  • refugia
  • landsat