Vol14 No.12: 2432-2447
【Title】Forest fragmentation and human population varies logarithmically along elevation gradient in Hindu Kush Himalaya - utility of geospatial tools and free data set
【Author】DAS Pulakesh1; BEHERA Mukunda Dev1*; MURTHY Manchiraju Sri Ramachandra2
【Addresses】1 Centre for Ocean River Atmosphere and Land Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India; 2 International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal
【Citation】Das P, Behera MD, Murthy MSR (2017) Forest fragmentation and human population varies logarithmically along elevation gradient in Hindu Kush Himalaya - utility of geospatial tools and free data set. Journal of Mountain Science 14(12). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-016-4159-0
【Abstract】Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) is the largest and the most diverse mountain region in the world that provides ecosystem services to one fifth of the total world population. The forests are fragmented to different degrees due to expansion and intensification of human land use.However, the quantitative relationship between fragmentation and demography has not been established before for HKH vis-à-vis along elevation gradient. We used the globally available tree canopy cover data derived from Landsat-TM satellite to find out the decadal forest cover change over 2000 to 2010 and their corresponding fragmentation levels. Using SRTM-derived DEM, we observed high forest cover loss up to 2400 m that highly corroborated with the population distribution pattern as derived from satellite observation. In general, forest cover loss was found to be higher in south-eastern part of HKH. Forest fragmentation obtained using ‘area-weighted mean radius of gyration' as indicator, was found to be very high up to 2400 m that also corroborated with high human population for the year 2000 and 2010. We observed logarithmic decrease in fragmentation change (area-weighted mean radius of gyration value), forest cover loss and population growth during 2000-2010 along the elevation gradient with very high R2 values (i.e., 0.889, 0.895, 0.944 respectively). Our finding on the pattern of forest fragmentation and human population across the elevation gradient in HKH region will have policy level implication for different nationsand would help in characterizing hotspots of change. Availability of free satellite derived data products on forest cover and DEM, grid-data on demography, and utility of geospatial tools helped in quick evaluation of the forest fragmentation vis-a-vis human impact pattern along the elevation gradient in HKH.
【Keywords】Tree canopy cover; Topography; Diachronic analysis; Biogeography; Human impact