h i g h l i g h t s• Temporal change in land cover and forest fragmentation were analyzed.• The results showed 9% decrease in forest cover and 12% increase in cropland.• A further 4% decline in forest cover and 5% increase in cropland were predicted. • 10% decrease in large core forest and 10.6% decline in core forest was predicted.• Expansions of cropland coupled with high dependency on forests are the drivers.
a b s t r a c tLand cover change is one of the most important drivers of forest ecosystem change. The Hindu Kush Himalayan region (HKH) has experienced severe forest degradation but data and documentation are limited. We undertook this study in the Nepalese part of the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), an important transboundary region known for its biodiversity and the scared values. Forest is an important ecosystem within the landscape and provides various goods and services including habitat for many keystone species. However, precise information on forest change and overall land cover change in the area is limited. We analyzed land cover change and forest fragmentation between 1990 and 2009, and the predicted change for 2030. There was a 9% decrease in forest cover and 12% increase in cropland between 1990 and 2009. A further 4% decline in forest cover and 5% increase in cropland was predicted by 2030, together with a slight increase in grassland and barren area. Fragmentation analysis showed a 10% decrease in large core forest between 1990 and 2009, accompanied by an increase in patch forest. A further 10.6% decline in core forest was predicted by 2030, accompanied by an increase in patch, perforated, small-sized core, and mediumsized core areas. The study suggests that expansions of cropland coupled with high dependency on forests are the major drivers of the observed forest change. Recommendations are made based on the results of the study that will help to maintain and restore forest, and support biodiversity conservation and livelihoods.
Land cover change has been one of the major drivers of change leading to an alteration of critical habitats for many of the threatened species worldwide. Species with a narrow range and specialized habitats such as wetland ecosystems are at higher risk. The present paper describes spatial and temporal land use and cover change over the period of last 34 years in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR), Nepal. High spatial resolution Indian Remote-Sensing Satellite (IRS) Linear Imaging and Self Scanning Sensor (LISS-4) from 2005 and medium spatial resolution Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) from 1976; Thematic Mapper (TM) from 1989; Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) from 1999 and TM from 2010 were used to generate a land use/land cover map and change analysis. Acquired IRS LISS-4 and Landsat image was orthorectified into Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM), Zone 45 based on generated digital terrain model (DTM) from a topographic map and Ground Control Point (GCP) from the field. After rectifying all the images, eCognition developer software was used for object-based image analysis (OBIA). The change in the land cover and land use types were compared with the potential habitat of twenty globally significant species present in the reserve. The habitat information was collected from the literature and a map was prepared based on 'presence' data, habits and habitats used to identify their distribution pattern. The analysis revealed that the KTWR has gone through significant changes in land cover and ecosystems over the last 34 years due to the change in river course and anthropogenic pressure leading to direct change in habitats of the species. Forests have been reduced by 94% from their original state whereas the grassland has increased by 79% from its original state. On the basis of total land cover, forests, river and stream, swamp and marshes decreased by 16%,
OPEN ACCESSDiversity 2013, 5 336 14% and 3% respectively over the last 34 years whereas the grassland has increased by 45%. These ecosystems are also an important habitat for the majority of the species, which is resulting in habitat loss. Notably, the wetland ecosystems (marshes/swamps and river/streams), being one of the most important habitat for many globally threatened species, have changed by more than 30% from their original state in 1976. Based on the analysis, recommendations for management interventions were made.
Abstract:Wetlands provide a diverse range of ecosystem services supporting livelihoods of many people. Despite their value, wetlands are continuously being degraded. There is scant information on individual wetlands, people's dependency and their exploitation at a local scale. We therefore assessed wetland ecosystem services, the drivers of change and impacts of those drivers on ecosystem services and people's dependency through a case study of the Maguri-Motapung Beel wetlands of Assam, India. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through household surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews and community workshops. The analyses showed a total of 29 ecosystem services, and high dependency on these with five out of seven livelihood strategies sourced from ecosystem services. Over-exploitation of wetland resources and siltation were reported as the major direct drivers of change with impacts on both ecosystem services and people's livelihoods. Drastic decreases in availability of thatch, fish stocks, fodder and tourism were observed. This suggests that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive participatory management plan. Actions are needed to maintain the Maguri-Motapung Beel wetlands and the flow of services in order to sustain people's livelihoods in the area. With an estimated 50% global loss of wetlands in the last century and the loss of 5,000 square kilometers a year in Asia alone, the loss of ecosystem services and livelihood impacts shown in our study may be typical of what is occurring in the region and perhaps globally.
Introduction: Mountains occupy 24% of the global land surface and are home to 12% of the world's population; they host the world's principal biomes and supply a diverse array of ecosystem services. But they are also highly sensitive to both natural and human induced changes, which can affect service provision meant for one third of humanity. Systematic research on impacts of land cover change from mountains at the local scale are limited, especially in developing countries, which poses a barrier to informed planning for sustainable management. Bhutan being in the forefront as contributor towards global conservation goals, a case study following a systematic research framework considering quantitative, qualitative and geospatial tools was experimented. Outcome: Respondents identified and ranked 24 ecosystem services, among which the provisioning services were the most important, followed by cultural, regulating, and supporting services. Forest was the most important land cover type for services, followed by marsh, scrub, water bodies, and agriculture. The area of forest declined by 2% and marsh by 7% over the 32-year period, suggesting a potential decrease in ecosystem services, which was also observed by the local community. Discussion: It was observed that 80% of the local people are still directly dependent on the diverse ecosystems for services. Though subtle, the decrease in land cover has implications for livelihoods of the people and the rich biodiversity of the area. Aspiring communities for local development needs guidance for identifying trade-offs in land cover types in sustainable management. An integrated and holistic approach focusing on both conservation and community development should be used to manage and develop the valley and the region sustainably.
Conclusion:We recommend diversifying the limited livelihood strategies (potato farming and livestock grazing) to reduce the potential vulnerability of the local community and reduce the pressure on forest and marsh. Proper land use planning in the valley would be beneficial to maintain and regulate land uses in an effective way and avoid possible conflicts between settlement, agriculture, forest, and marsh.
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