Geoinformatics based Valuation of Forest Landscape Dynamics in Central Western Ghats, India

Ramachandra TV and Bharath S

Landscape dynamics driven by land use land cover (LULC) changes due to anthropogenic activities altering the functional ability of an ecosystem has influenced the ecology, biodiversity, hydrology and people’s sustainable livelihood. Forest landscape dynamics have been quantified using spatial data acquired through space borne sensors along with collateral data. Vegetation cover assessment of Central Western Ghats shows the decline of vegetation from 92.87% (1973) to 80.42% (2016). Land use analyses reveal the trend of deforestation, evident from the reduction of evergreen-semi evergreen forest cover from 67.73% (1973) to 29.5% (2016). The spatial patterns of diverse landscape have been assessed through spatial metrics and categorical principal component analysis, reveal a transition of intact forested landscape (1973) to fragmented landscape. The analysis has provided insights to formulate appropriate policies to mitigate forest changes in the region to safeguard water and food security apart from livelihood of the local people for sustainable development.