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Guwāhāti, India

Saikia A.,Gauhati University | Hazarika R.,Bbarua Borooah College | Sahariah D.,Gauhati University
Geografisk Tidsskrift | Year: 2013

Land-use/land-cover change is an important agent of ecological degradation in tropical areas where forests are under threat from the pressure of human activities. This study assesses land-use change (1973-2007) in the Nameri Tiger Reserve (NTR) in Assam, India using Landsat imageries. Dense forests decreased sharply while open forest increased marginally. The increases in the degraded and open forest categories occurred at the expense of dense forests, which decreased at an average annual rate of 288 ha year -1, or at 0.56% annually. The number of patches in the NTR landscape recorded a fivefold increase indicating a high degree of fragmentation of the habitat. While the number of patches of the dense forests increased by 338% from 270 in 1973 to 1138 in 2007 at an annual rate of increase of 9.9% per annum, their mean patch area declined from 19.09 to 12.82 ha. Both class- and patch-level changes corroborate the trend of fragmentation with a consistent increase in the number of smaller patches. Encroachment by small farmers has been the chief agent in the conversion of dense forest into degraded forest. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

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