Deforestation Analysis of Riverine Forest of Sindh Using Remote Sensing Techniques
Authors: Abbasi H., Baloch M.A., Memon A.G.
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During recent decades the large scale deterioration of forests and natural resources is an eye opener. The degradation of forests and other natural resources has affected the ecology, environment, health and economy. The ecological problems with living organisms such as animals and plants and environmental problems such as increase in temperature and carbon dioxide, these factors have contributed to change in regional climate, health problems such as skin, eye diseases and sunstroke and economic problems such as loss of income to rural population and resources which depend on forests such as livestock. Therefore, it was necessary to carry out land cover/use research focusing on the monitoring and management of the present and past state of forests cover and other related objects using RS (Remote Sensing) technologies. The RS is a way of mapping and monitoring the changes taking place in forests cover and other objects on a continuing basis. Sukkur and Shikarpur riverine forests are vanishing quickly due to the construction of barrages /dams on upper streams to produce hydroelectricity and irrigation installations which reduce the discharge of fresh water into the downstream Indus basin. Moreover, anthropogenic activities, livestock population, increased grazing, load and illegal tree cutting have contributed to this. The riverine forests are turning into barren land and most of the land is used for agriculture. These uncontrolled changes contribute to climate change and global warming. These changes are difficult to monitor and control without using RS technology. Assessment of deforestation of the Sukkur and Shikarpur to find temporal changes in the forests cover from April, 1979 to April, 2009 is presented in this paper. The integrated classes such as water body, grass/agriculture land, dry/barren land and forest cover maps show the temporal changes taking place in the forests cover for the last 30 years period. RS has been employed in the present study to assess deforestation. The results show significant changes in sub-tropical forests cover, the overall forests cover in April, 1979 was 22.67%, April, 1992 17.38%, April, 1998 12.28%, April, 2000 6.15%, April, 2006 7.51%, and April, 2009 5.97%. The overall change observed in forest area is 25.07%.