Landscape is a mosaic of forest and non-forest elements depending on the climate, geology, land use transitions, etc. Forests constitute the vital source of natural resources, aiding in socioeconomic development with water and food security and environmental protection. Alterations in landscape structure due to unplanned anthropogenic activities have resulted in fragmentation of contiguous forests affecting the biodiversity, soil retention capacity, hydrologic regime, loss of carbon sequestration potential, etc. Deforestation has been considered as one of the driver of global warming and consequent changes in the climate. Uttara Kannada district of Central Western Ghats having six forest jurisdictions of Karnataka has been experiencing landscape dynamics during post-independence period due to implementation of large-scale developmental projects. Land use analyses using temporal remote sensing data with FOSS show the decline of forest cover from 71.30 % (1989) to 53.36% (2013), with an increase in built-up from 1.26% to 3.5%. The quantification of fragmentation of forests reveals that forest under jurisdiction of Sirsi forest division has lost major interior forest cover from 77.59% to 13.83% with an increase in non-forest cover (crop land, plantations, built-up, etc.). Prediction of forest cover in 2025 is done through Markov-cellular automata (CA–Markov) helps in for inferring intensity, extent and also evolving appropriate forest management strategies. The integration of geoinformatics with freely downloadable remote sensing data has aided in planning enhancing transparency in the administration apart from economical conservation actions for sustainable management of natural resources.

FOSS4G: Prediction of forest cover transitions in Uttara Kannada Central Western Ghats

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