Living on the edge: Deforestation and fragmentation trends of Bhittarkanika Conservation Area (BCA), India

Authors: Dina Rasquinha*, UGA
Topics: Asia, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: mangroves,India, fragmentation, deforestation,remote sensing
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Mangrove forests form the critical interface between land and sea in tropical and subtropical regions.They provide a myriad of ecosystem services—protection from storm surges and floods; nurseries and breeding habitats for a variety of fauna; and livelihood needs of local human communities.They also possess the capacity to sequester and store large quantities of carbon, estimated at about 25 billion tonnes;40 times more than their terrestrial counterparts.India possess about 3% of the world’s mangrove forests.About 40% of which has been lost during the last century;and pressures from coastal development,aquaculture, agricultural expansion and resource use, threaten the remaining.In this study,we use the Ramsar site of Bhittarkanika on the east Indian coast to characterise the deforestation and fragmentation patterns using Landsat 8 images. We found that contiguous large patches of forests decline with time.A clustered pattern of healthy (high positive skew) to disturbed patches (negative skew) was also observed. Further, high biomass (and height) values obtained using a digital surface model were associated with core mangrove areas.These spatially clustered patterns may be attributed to the increasing levels of anthropogenic pressures in the region with implications for the productivity of the forests.

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