Shrub expansion in the Makalu Barun National Park Nepal Himalaya

Authors: Eric Thai*, CSU Dominguez Hills, Parveen Chhetri, CSU Dominguez Hills
Topics: Biogeography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Treeline, Shrubline, NDVI, Himalaya, GIS, RS
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Himalaya has one of the highest positioned treelines in the world, and recent studies have indicated treeline advance due to temperature increases in the region. Studies in the Nepal Himalaya have reported mixed findings: some stated a stable treeline, others said that the treeline had shifted upward, and others found that infilling or densification had occurred. All these studies are concentrated to understand the impact of recent temperature increase on treeline. Therefore, it is essential to explore other factors such as shrubs cover above the treeline to understand the treeline dynamics. The vegetation indices NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and VCI (Vegetation Condition Index) generated from high-resolution images (Landsat) to low- resolution satellite images (MODIS, NOAA AVHRR) can be applied to study shrub cover change. However, georeferenced position and species composition of the shrubs above the treeline in Nepal are lacking. Therefore, accurately identify the composition, position, and cover of shrubs above the treeline in the Nepalese mountains is essential. The primary objective of this project is to map the shrub cover above the current treeline in Makalu Barun National Park, eastern Nepal, which will help to detect a potential regional shrub cover change. Detection of shrub cover above the treeline will help to determine whether shrubs are advancing faster than trees. Moreover, mapping of shrubs will help to track and monitor the impact of temperature increase at the shrubline.

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