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Spatio-temporal patterns of four neighbouring river-scapes in the central Western Ghats, India through land-use analyses using temporal remote sensing data (1973, 2018), reveal a decline in evergreen forests (41%) and fragmentation of intact or contiguous forests (60%). Hydro-ecological footprint illustrates that catchment integrity plays a decisive role in sustaining water for societal and ecological needs. This is evident from the occurrence of perennial streams in the catchment dominated by native flora with forest cover greater than 60%, highlighting the riverscape dynamics with hydrological, ecological, social and environmental dimension linkages and water sustainability. This helps in evolving strategies to adopt integrated watershed management to sustain anthro-pogenic and environmental water demand.
Method adopted for the analyses of eco-hydrological footprint with forest transitions. Sharavati rivers), and irrigation for the vast expanse of horticulture and monoculture plantations. Upper reaches of the Kali, Gangavali and Sharavati have a large number of interconnected lake systems (lentic ecosystems), while the WG are dominated by a dense drainage network. As of 2018, Gangavali catchment has the highest population (1.01 million) followed by Kali (0.54 million), Sharavati (0.35 million), Aghanashini (0.24 million) and Venkatapura (0.17 million) 34 . Population growth rate between 2001 and 2011 was highest in the Gangavali (15.3%), followed by Venkatapura (14.5%) and least in the Kali (8.9%). Venkatapura has the highest population density (377 persons/km 2 ), followed by Gangavali (258 persons/km 2 ) and lowest in the Kali (107 persons/km 2 ). Topographically, the coastal zone (in the west) and plain lands (towards the east) are flat with slopes (ranging up to 5°); the transition zones between the coast and the WG and the transition zones between the WG and eastern plain lands have slopes up to 15°. The WG have slopes greater than 15° (refs 35, 36). Interconnected lake systems in the plains were developed during the Kadamba (525-345 BCE) and Hoysala (AD 1063-1353) periods to cater to domestic and irrigation water requirements. This study is based on field ecological research carried out to understand the linkages of landscape dynamics with ecohydrological footprints in the four major west-flowing river basins of Uttara Kannada district.
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RESEARCH ACCOUNT
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020 1379
*For correspondence. (e-mail: tvr@iisc.ac.in)
Insights into riverscape dynamics with the
hydrological, ecological and social dimensions
for water sustenance
T. V. Ramachandra1,2,3,*, S. Vinay1,4, S. Bharath1, M. D. Subash Chandran1 and
Bharath H. Aithal1,4
1Energy and Wetland Research Group, Centre for Ecological Science,
2Centre for Sustainable Technologies (astra), and
3Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP), Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru 560 012, India
4RCG School of Infrastructure Design and Management, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. Kharagpur 721 302, India
Spatio-temporal patterns of four neighbouring river-
scapes in the central Western Ghats, India through
land-use analyses using temporal remote sensing data
(1973, 2018), reveal a decline in evergreen forests
(41%) and fragmentation of intact or contiguous
forests (60%). Hydro-ecological footprint illustrates
that catchment integrity plays a decisive role in sus-
taining water for societal and ecological needs. This is
evident from the occurrence of perennial streams in
the catchment dominated by native flora with forest
cover greater than 60%, highlighting the riverscape
dynamics with hydrological, ecological, social and
environmental dimension linkages and water sustai-
nability. This helps in evolving strategies to adopt
integrated watershed management to sustain anthro-
pogenic and environmental water demand.
Keywords: Biodiversity, eco-hydrological footprint,
land use, lotic ecosystems, water quality.
RIVERINE ecosystems encompass ecological, social and
economic processes (ecosystem functions) that intercon-
nect biotic components and provide goods and services
for the society. Degradation of these vital ecosystems has
been the primary cause for increasing water insecurity,
raising the need for integrated solutions to freshwater
management. Sustainable management of freshwater
flows is fundamental to the four dimensions of develop-
ment, namely social needs, economic development, eco-
logical integrity and environmental limits. However,
unplanned developmental activities during the past four
decades have been altering the land cover affecting phy-
sical integrity, bio-geochemical cycling, hydrological
regimes, biodiversity, etc. This makes it necessary to un-
derstand: (i) the landscape dynamics and its relation with
the hydrological and biological entities for determining
the level of services provided by the ecosystem, and (ii)
linkages of ecosystem structure with its functional capa-
bilities, which are essential to frame appropriate man-
agement strategies towards mitigation of impacts.
Aquatic ecosystems are the destination of precipitation
(surface and subsurface water) in the hydrological cycle,
and are broadly categorized as lentic and lotic ecosys-
tems. Lentic ecosystem refers to stationary or relatively
still water bodies (such as lakes, ponds, etc.), while lotic
ecosystem refers to flowing water (such as streams and
rivers). Water sustenance in the aquatic ecosystems de-
pends on the integrity of the catchment as vegetation
helps in retarding the velocity of water by allowing im-
poundment and recharging of groundwater through infil-
tration. As water moves in the terrestrial ecosystem, part
of it gets percolated, while another fraction gets back to
the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration.
Forests with native vegetation act as a sponge by retain-
ing and regulating the transfer of water between land and
atmosphere1,2. The mechanism by which vegetation
controls flow regime is dependent on various bio-
physiographic characteristics, namely type of vegetation,
species composition, maturity, density, structure, aerody-
namic and surface resistance, root density and depth, hy-
dro-climatic condition, etc. Roots of vegetation help in:
(i) binding the soil, and (ii) improving soil structure by
enhancing the stability of aggregates, which provide habi-
tat for diverse microfauna and flora leading to higher
porosity of soil, thereby making conduits for infiltration
through the soil3. Native species of vegetation with the
assemblage of diverse species help in recharging the
groundwater, mitigating floods, and other hydro-
ecological processes4. These functions augment with the
age/maturity of the forests, their diversity, density of
plant species, etc. In mature forests, streams are perennial
with sustained yield (during all seasons), due to infiltra-
tion and storing of water in the subsurface (which gets
released to the streams during the lean season). Also, the
annual surface transpiration reduces with increase in
understorey transpiration5. Revival of natural forest capa-
bilities through reforestation or afforestation would take
about 20–25 years in the tropical ecosystems and
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020
1380
achievement of full potential about 40–50 years6,7. This
necessitates safeguarding and maintaining the existing
native forest patches to sustain hydrological regime,
which caters to biotic (ecological and societal) demands.
An undisturbed native forest has consistent hydrological
regime with sustained flows during the lean season8.
Aquatic ecosystems are the most threatened systems in
India due to alterations in the landscape structure
(changes in the land cover), anthropogenic inputs (dis-
posal of untreated or partially treated wastewater), con-
struction of reservoirs (altering the flow regime), water
abstraction, river channelization (narrowing drains and
concretization), etc. which in turn affect the physical and
chemical integrity of the system. The spatial and temporal
variability in freshwater stock with the burgeoning so-
cietal demands has resulted in anthropocentric regulation
of river flow through construction of reservoirs, diversion
works, etc. causing significant alterations in the hydro-
logical regime and river morphology9. In general, dams
are constructed for irrigation, hydroelectric power genera-
tion, domestic and industrial water supply, recreation and
for controlling floods. Size and functionality of dams affect
land use, livelihoods, local climate, hydrology and econ-
omy. Reservoirs and other storage structures, and diversion
works have impacted the hydrological regime of rivers,
which includes loss of interconnectivity along rivers, frag-
mentation of catchment, changes in hydrological processes,
downstream erosion10,11 and alterations in the flow re-
gime of freshwater impacting downstream biota12,13.
Ecological integrity of riverine ecosystem depends on
river morphology, river connectivity, water quality14–17,
quantum, duration and velocity of water flow which
influences the aquatic biodiversity. Ecosystem fragility
refers to the extent to which a system experiences damage
caused by sustained exposure to different stress agents
that can cause environmental changes or changes in eco-
system functions16,17. Sustenance of water in the rivers,
streams and wetlands during all seasons is crucial to
maintain aquatic health and sustain biodiversity. The
freshwater flows in terms of quantity and timing are es-
sential to maintain the process and functioning of fresh-
water resources18,19. The health of a river (water body)
deteriorates when the flow is either reduced or inhibited
below a threshold required to sustain aquatic life20 or
environmental flow20 (also known as ecological flow or
instream flow or minimal flow). Maintaining environ-
mental flow in streams and rivers is necessary to meet the
needs of aquatic biota along with the societal demand21,
sustain the health of an aquatic system22, manage flow
and protect water bodies and river networks23, maintain
and enhance the ecological character and functions of
floodplains, wetlands and riverine ecosystems which may
be subject to stress from drought, climate change or water
resource development24,25.
Four river basins in the central Western Ghats with
varied levels of anthropogenic stress have been chosen to
understand the implications of large-scale changes in the
respective landscape structures27,28 on the hydrological
regime, social needs, economic development, ecological
integrity and environmental limits.
The Western Ghats (WG) are a range of ancient hills
that run parallel to the west coast of India covering an
approximate area of 160,000 km2. They extend between
8°N and 21°N lat. and 73°E and 77°E long. The region is
endowed with diverse ecological areas depending upon
altitude, latitude, rainfall and soil characteristics28. The
WG are among eight hot spots of biodiversity in India29
and 36 global biodiversity hotspots30 with exceptional
endemic flora and fauna. Natural forests of the WG have
been providing various goods and services31, and are
endowed with species of more than 4600 flowering plants
(38% endemic), 330 butterflies (11% endemic), 156 rep-
tiles (62% endemic), 508 birds (4% endemic), 120 mam-
mals (12% endemic), 289 fishes (41% endemic) and 135
amphibians (75% endemic)32. Numerous streams origi-
nate in the WG, which drain millions of hectares area,
ensuring water and food security for 245 million people,
and hence the region is known as the ‘water tower’ of
peninsular India. The region has tropical evergreen
forests, moist deciduous forests, scrub jungles, sholas,
savannas, including high-rainfall savannas of which 10%
of the forest area is under legal protection. Areca nut,
coconut, coffee, rubber, sugarcane and tea are the horti-
cultural crops, and spices, paddy, cereals and cotton are
major agricultural crops grown across the region.
The WG landscape consists of heterogeneous interact-
ing dynamic elements with complex ecological, economic
and cultural attributes. The interactions among the land-
scape elements result in the flow of nutrients, minerals
and energy, which contributes to the functioning of the
landscape. This complex interaction helps in the susten-
ance of natural resources through bio-geochemical and
hydrological cycles. The changes in landscape structure
have been altering the ecosystem functions.
The landscape in peninsular India with relic forests and
perennial rivers has been catering to the societal water
demand, while ensuring food security. The region is rich
in biodiversity with numerous species of flora and fauna.
Fragmentation of large contiguous forests to small and
isolated forest patches either by natural phenomena or
anthropogenic activities has led to drastic changes in the
size of the forest patch, its shape, connectivity and inter-
nal heterogeneity, which restrict the movement of species
leading to inbreeding among meta population with extir-
pation of the species.
The impacts of unplanned developmental activities26
are evident with: (i) the existence of barren hill tops, (ii)
conversion of perennial streams to intermittent or season-
al streams, (iii) flash floods during monsoon and droughts
during summer, (iv) pollution of ecosystems, (v) change
in water quality, (vi) soil erosion and sedimentation27,
(vii) extinction of endemic flora and fauna, and (viii) loss
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020 1381
Figure 1. Study area.
of habitats, breeding grounds, etc. The region is ecologi-
cally fragile and vulnerable with high susceptibility to
anthropogenic stress. This necessitates assessment of eco-
hydrological footprint which will aid in the prudent man-
agement of fragile ecosystems to sustain: (i) natural flow
regime, (ii) ecosystem goods and services, and (iii) live-
lihood of the people. The present study involves analysis
of land-use dynamics with hydrologic regime to assess
eco-hydrological footprints (water availability with de-
mand to meet the societal and ecological needs), across
the river scapes in the central WG with varied levels of
anthropogenic stress. The results of the study could help
evolve appropriate integrated management strategies to
ensure sustenance of water, supporting biodiversity and
people’s livelihood.
Study area
Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka, located in the central
WG (Figure 1), lies between 13.769°N and 15.732°N lat.,
and 74.124°E and 75.169°E long., covering an area of
approximately 10,291 km2. The district extends for a
maximum length of 180 km along the N–S direction and
a maximum width of 110 km along the E–W direction.
The Arabian Sea borders it on the west creating a long,
continuous and narrow coastline of 120 km. The district
has varied geographical features with thick forests, pe-
rennial rivers and abundant flora and fauna. It falls in
three agro-climatic zones (i) the coastal region, which
has a hot humid climate where rainfall varies between
3000 and 4500 mm; (ii) the Sahyadri interior region of
the WG (500–1000 m elevation), in the south which is
humid, where rainfall varies between 4000 and 5500 mm,
and (iii) the plains on the east which are regions of transi-
tion that are dry, where rainfall varies between 1500 and
2000 mm. The district has four major rivers namely Kali
with a catchment of 5085 km2; Gangavali (Bedthi;
3935 km2); Aghanashini (1448 km2) and Sharavati
(3042 km2). Venkatapura, a relatively small river with a
catchment of 460 km2 and innumerable creeks is also
found33. They all discharge into the Arabian Sea. These
rivers are under various levels of stress like regulation of
water flow for hydro-electric power generation (Kali and
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020
1382
Figure 2. Method adopted for the analyses of eco-hydrological footprint with forest transitions.
Sharavati rivers), and irrigation for the vast expanse of
horticulture and monoculture plantations. Upper reaches
of the Kali, Gangavali and Sharavati have a large number
of interconnected lake systems (lentic ecosystems), while
the WG are dominated by a dense drainage network.
As of 2018, Gangavali catchment has the highest popu-
lation (1.01 million) followed by Kali (0.54 million),
Sharavati (0.35 million), Aghanashini (0.24 million) and
Venkatapura (0.17 million)34. Population growth rate
between 2001 and 2011 was highest in the Gangavali
(15.3%), followed by Venkatapura (14.5%) and least in
the Kali (8.9%). Venkatapura has the highest population
density (377 persons/km2), followed by Gangavali (258
persons/km2) and lowest in the Kali (107 persons/km2).
Topographically, the coastal zone (in the west) and plain
lands (towards the east) are flat with slopes (ranging up
to 5°); the transition zones between the coast and the WG
and the transition zones between the WG and eastern
plain lands have slopes up to 15°. The WG have slopes
greater than 15° (refs 35, 36). Interconnected lake sys-
tems in the plains were developed during the Kadamba
(525–345 BCE) and Hoysala (AD 1063–1353) periods to
cater to domestic and irrigation water requirements. This
study is based on field ecological research carried out to
understand the linkages of landscape dynamics with eco-
hydrological footprints in the four major west-flowing
river basins of Uttara Kannada district.
Data and methodology
Figure 2 describes the method adopted for assessing the
role of landscape dynamics with ecological, hydrological
and social dimensions in lotic ecosystems. This involves:
(i) assessment of spatio-temporal patterns of land cover
using multi-resolution remote sensing data, and (ii)
assessment of eco-hydrological footprint through analy-
ses of rainfall patterns and hydrological regime with the
demand of biotic components.
Data collection
Optical satellite data from Landsat 1 MSS (1973), Land-
sat 8 OLI (2018) and topographic data from SRTM were
downloaded from the United States Geological Survey
(USGS)37. GPS-based field observations, Survey of India
(SOI) topographic maps36,38, French Institute, Puducherry
maps39, virtual earth data such as Google Earth40, and
NRSC Bhuvan41 were used to geo-rectify and classify
remote sensing data for identifying land-use categories.
Long-term meteorological data such as temperature, rain-
fall and solar radiation were collected from Karnataka
State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, Karnataka42;
Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of
Karnataka43; India Meteorological Department44, and
Food and Agriculture Organisation45. Population census
data for 2001 and 2011 were collected from the Census of
India34. Livestock data such as census and water require-
ment were collected from the Directorate of Economics
and Statistics43, District Statistical Office, Bengaluru46,
and through public interviews. Agriculture data such as
the crops grown, cropping pattern, water requirement at
different growth phases were collected from the District
Statistical Office, Bengaluru46, public interviews; online
portals such as Raitamitra, iKisan, Tamil Nadu Agriculture
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020 1383
University, etc.47–50 and published literatures. Field inves-
tigations in selected stream catchments were carried out
for 24 months to understand the intra- and inter-
variability of hydrological regime in the central WG and
information regarding ungauged streams was compiled
from the published literature. Steams were chosen based
on land cover in the catchment as: (i) dominated by vege-
tation of native species to the extent of >60%; (ii) domi-
nated by vegetation of monoculture species, and (iii)
vegetation cover in the catchment <35%. This helped in
understanding the natural flow regime of surface run-off,
subsurface flows and infiltration dynamics to estimate the
minimum flow to sustain aquatic life (also known as
environmental flow or ecological flow)51–55 for rivers in
the central WG. Species composition and distribution
pertaining to flora and fauna were mapped through qua-
drat-based transects in the field (representative regions
across different forest types), biodiversity portals56–58,
Forest Department records59 and published literature60–71,
and species distribution database was developed consi-
dering their occurrence26,56–59,72–76, habitat (villages, tran-
sects, GPS coordinates, forest ranges), conservation
status77, etc. The spatial overlay of biodiversity informa-
tion with the hydrological regime provided valuable
insights on hydrological, ecological and biodiversity
linkages with land-use dynamics across the four river
basins with various levels of anthropogenic stress.
Land-use dynamics
Satellite data for 1973 and 2018 were resampled to 30 m
resolution in order to maintain the same spatial resolu-
tion78. Training sites were developed based on field in-
formation (collected using pre-calibrated handheld GPS)
and secondary data sources such as SOI topographic
maps, vegetation map published by the French Institute,
Puducherry and virtual globe datasets. The pre-processed
satellite data were classified using supervised Gaussian
maximum likelihood classification technique79. Also,
60% of the field data collected was used for classifica-
tion, while 40% was used for accuracy assessment80. Ad-
ditional training/field data were used and the process was
repeated when classification accuracy was less than 80%.
Land-use information of 1973 and 2018 were compared
for assessing spatio-temporal patterns of landscape dyna-
mics.
Forests
Spatial distribution of forests was extracted from the
land-use information of 1973 and 2018. The binary maps
of forest and non-forest areas were used for fragmenta-
tion analysis81, which also emphasizes their relationship
with biodiversity82,83, climate change84, etc. Forest frag-
mentation at pixel level was estimated based on an earlier
proven protocol85, by computing Pf (the ratio of pixels
that are forested to the total non-water pixels in the win-
dow) and Pff (the proportion of all adjacent (cardinal
directions only) pixel pairs that include at least one forest
pixel, for which both pixels are forested) indicators.
Based on the level of fragmentation, forests were classi-
fied as interior (intact or contiguous), patch, transition,
edge and perforated forests.
Species distribution and water quality
Water quality of the samples collated from field experi-
ments at various locations in each of the river basins and
also from the published literature68 was analysed based
on various physical, chemical and biological parameters.
The surface water standards were used to define water
quality status as highly polluted, polluted and non-
polluted68.
Temperature
Spatial patterns of temperature variation were computed
based on mono window algorithm86,87, using red, NIR and
thermal IR (band 10) Landsat 8 data for 2018.
Eco-hydrological footprint
Eco-hydrological footprint of a river basin is computed
through assessment of hydrological regime for sustaining
vital ecological functions and appropriation of water by
biotic components (including humans).
Biotic demand includes societal, terrestrial ecosystem
demand and aquatic ecosystem demand (minimum flow
required to sustain aquatic biotic components, also known
as ecological flow). Societal demands include water
requirement for agriculture, horticulture, domestic and
livestock sectors88–90. Transpiration and evaporation
from the forests alone have been accounted for under
terrestrial water demand. Minimum flows (e-flows) to be
maintained to sustain aquatic life were computed based
on field observations53–55,91,92, which show about 25% of
annual flow needs to be maintained as natural flow
regime during the lean season to maintain ecological
integrity.
Natural water catering to societal and environmental
needs depends on rainfall, land use, soil and lithological
characteristics of the catchment (or watershed). Water
supply in the catchments is considered as a function of
overland flows, and subsurface (vadose and saturated
zones) flows (pipe flow and base flow). Overland flows
were monitored for 18 months at 12 locations across the
river basins. They were estimated sub-catchment-wise for
each river basin using the rational method93, and the cat-
chment coefficients for varied land uses were based on
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Figure 3. Dynamics in land use, forest cover and forest fragmentation across the west-flowing rivers of central Western Ghats, India.
field observations. Groundwater recharge was estimated
using the Krishna Rao’s equation, which holds good for
Karnataka51. Subsurface flows were estimated based on
the specific yield of rocks and porosity of soils88.
Monthly supply (based on hydrological regime assess-
ment) was compared with the biotic demands in order to
understand the eco-hydrological status in every sub-
catchment; ratio < 1 indicates deficit while ratio > 1 indi-
cates surplus or sufficient situation.
Eco-hydrology and landscape structure linkages
Spatial variability and fragmentation status of forests,
temperature, species distribution and water quality were
compared spatially with the eco-hydrological status to
understand the linkages of these variables with water sus-
tenance.
Results and discussion
Status and transition of forest
These were evaluated through the assessment of land-use
dynamics and fragmentation of forest landscapes using
the temporal remote sensing data of 1973 and 2018. Fig-
ure 3 presents land-use dynamics with the fragmentation
of forests across four major river catchments of Uttara
Kannada district in the central WG. Figure 4 presents
river basin-wise statistics. Land-use analyses using tem-
poral remote sensing data reveal that the overall forest
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020 1385
Figure 4. Land use and forest fragmentation dynamics.
cover in the district has declined from 74.19% (1973) to
48.04% (2018), with the loss of evergreen forests from
56.07% to 24.85%. The loss of forest cover is due to
developmental activities with aggravated anthropogenic
activities94 such as (i) construction of dams along River
Kali post-1975, without appropriate rehabilitation and
catchment restoration measures, (ii) increase in monocul-
ture plantations such as teak, eucalyptus, acacia by the
Forest Department as part of social forestry scheme, (iii)
conversion of area under forests to agriculture, horticul-
ture or private plantations82,95, (iv) increase in built-up
area, (v) setting up of forest-based industries, and (vi)
nuclear power plant at Kaiga in the midst of evergreen
forests75.
Fragmentation process involves alteration in the struc-
ture and composition of native forests through the divi-
sion of contiguous forests into smaller non-contiguous
fragments with a sharp increase in the edges. This will
have detrimental effects such as disruption in bio-geoche-
mical cycling, nutrient and water cycling, ecological
processes, forests and further land-use changes. About
64,355 ha of forest land has been diverted for
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020
1386
various non-forestry activities (such as paper industries,
hydroelectric and nuclear power projects and commercial
plantations) during the last four decades75. Hence, the
terrestrial forest ecosystems in Uttara Kannada district,
central WG have been experiencing fragmentation of
contiguous forests, evident from the decline of interior or
contiguous forests from 62.71% (1970) to 24.74% (2018),
and consequent increase in patch, transitional, edge and
perforated forests. This has led to the loss of connectivity
of natural/native vegetation and straying of wild animals
into human habitations. Instances of human–animal con-
flicts has increased. There is also extirpation of genes due
to higher inbreeding, loss of biodiversity, absence of
native pollinators, etc. Spurt in urban growth is witnessed
in and around major towns such as Sirsi, Siddapura,
Karwar, Hubli, Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar, Dandeli,
etc. Encroachment of forest lands of the order of 7072 ha
(ref. 75) and conversion to agriculture, horticulture and
private plantations is prevalent throughout the district
(except those designated as protected areas) across all
agro-climatic zones (coast, Western Ghats (hilly zones),
plains and transition zones).
River basin-wise land-use analysis (Figure 4) reveals
that anthropogenic activities involving monoculture (both
forest plantation and horticulture) plantations and exploi-
tation of timber in the Aghanashini river basin have led to
the decline in forest cover from 86.08% (1973) to 50.65%
(2018), followed by river basins of Kali (37.8%), Ganga-
vali (37.7%) and Sharavati (23.3%).
Evergreen forest cover in Aghanashini riverscape has
declined from 72.15% (1973) to 24.09% (2018), while
moist deciduous forest cover has increased from 9.79% to
25.76% during this period. While there has been a sharp
increase in agricultural activity from 4.46% to 16.38% in
the coastal regions, in the WG and transition zones to the
east, horticulture practices (areca nut gardens) have in-
creased from 3.63% to 10.68%, especially along the river
valleys and stream courses. Urban growth has picked up
as indicated by increase in built-up area from 0.1% to
4.87% in the proximity of the coast (Gokarna and Kumta)
and along the WG (Sirsi). There has been a reduction in
the interior forest cover from 73.28% to 17.78%, with
increase in edge forests (from 8.71% to 19.65%) and
transitional forests (from 1.86% to 8.23%).
Construction of a series of dams in the Kali river basin
at Supa, Kodasalli, Kadra, etc. has resulted in loss of for-
est cover (from 87.26% to 54.24%) and in particular
evergreen forests (from 61.82% to 30.5%)52. Due to
availability of water and lack of appropriate regulatory
mechanisms, there have been encroachments into the
forests in the eastern part of the catchment (near Hubli
and Belgaum) leading to increase in agricultural and hor-
ticulture activities (17.02%–22.15%). Overall, the forest
cover in Kali river basin has reduced. Infrastructure acti-
vities (Karwar, Hubli–Dharwad) have boosted the growth
of urban areas from 0.39% to 2.95%. All these pressures
have reduced the contiguous, native, intact forests from
78.95% to 33.2% in the Kali river basin.
Similar levels of anthropogenic stress were witnessed
in the Sharavati river basin, which has led to the decline
in forest cover from 61.97% to 47.55% with the loss of
evergreen forests (from 52.68% to 27.11%) and a two-fold
increase in deciduous forests. Human–animal conflicts
have increased due to the disruption of animal movement
paths with the decline of contiguous forests from 45.88%
to 23.97% and loss of fodder, water, etc. with decline of
native vegetation. There has been an increase in urban
spaces (0.45%–2.05%), and horticulture lands (2.13%–
15.91%). There was also a decline in agricultural practic-
es in Sharavati river basin with large-scale conversion of
paddy fields into cash-crop fields like areca gardens.
Eco-hydrological footprint
Assessment of eco-hydrological footprint at sub-catch-
ment level across the four major river basins of Uttara
Kannada district was carried out considering: (i) biotic
demands: blue water demand (agriculture, domestic,
livestock, aquatic, ecological needs), green water demand
(evapotranspiration), and (ii) hydrological regime consi-
dering surface (overland) flow and subsurface (vadose
and saturated zones), flow (pipe and base flow) (Figure
5). The societal and environmental water demand was
highest in Kali (7075 M.m3), followed by Gangavali
(5501 M.m3), Sharavati (4827 M.m3) and Aghanashini
(2204 M.m3). Upper reaches in all these basins have
witnessed major land-use changes with increase in agri-
cultural and horticultural areas, and sustained water de-
mand throughout the year. Analysis of water demand
based on cropping pattern (agriculture and horticulture)
indicates that the Gangavali river basin has the highest
demand (2597 M.m3), followed by Kali (2272 M.m3),
Sharavati (1975 M.m3) and Aghanashini (765 M.m3).
Based on flow, streams have been classified into three
categories as perennial (with 12 months flow), intermit-
tent (6–8 months flow) and seasonal (four months flow,
only during monsoon). Figure 6 confirms the role of na-
tive forests (contiguous or interior forests) in sustaining
perennial stream flow. Intermittent or seasonal streams
are found in areas with the catchment dominated by de-
graded forest patches. The streams are perennial when the
catchment is dominated by vegetation (> 60%) of native
species. This is mainly due to infiltration or percolation
in the catchment, where the soil is more porous in areas
with native species. Diverse microorganisms in the soil
interact with plant roots, which help in the transfer of nu-
trients from the soil to plants, and maintains soil porosity
or premeability. Analyses of soil sample from the catch-
ments of perennial and intermittent streams reveal that
soils in the perennial stream catchments have highest
moisture content (61.47%–61.57%), higher nutrients
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020 1387
Figure 5. Eco-hydrological footprint (water availability) across the basins.
(C, N and K) and lower bulk density (0.50–0.57 g/cm3).
Compared to this, soils in the catchment of intermittent
and seasonal streams have higher bulk density (0.87–
1.53 g/cm3) and relatively lower nutrient content. Due to
this, water infiltrates and fills the underlying zones
vadose and saturated zones in the catchments of perennial
streams.
The region receives rainfall for about four months and
the surface run-off during monsoon is due to precipita-
tion. After the monsoon recedes, the water stored in the
vadose and saturated zones flows laterally towards the
stream for about 6–8 months (as pipe flow in the post-
monsoon period of four months and base flow during
summer). Water infiltration allows storage in the saturated
RESEARCH ACCOUNT
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020
1388
Figure 6. Eco-hydrology and forest linkages.
and vadose zones, which is crucial for sustenance of
water in the streams during lean season. This emphasizes
that vegetation helps in retarding water flow in the cat-
chment by allowing infiltration. Contiguous forests of
native species moderate the local climate (through trans-
piration) and also act as a sponge by retaining water,
which is released slowly to the streams during the lean
season, thereby sustaining water availability in the cat-
chment to meet biotic needs throughout the year. Streams
in the catchment dominated by a single species (monocul-
ture plantations) had adequate flow for 6–8 months. This
is mainly because of lower infiltration due to higher bulk
density of soil and also because litter of monoculture
plants requires longer time for degradation. Water availa-
bility for four months is observed in the streams of the
degraded catchment with vegetation cover less than 30%.
At the sub-catchment level across all four river basins,
field investigations confirmed higher infiltration (almost
twice) compared to transpiration in sub-catchments with
intact forests of native species. There was increase in sur-
face water flow (during monsoon) and reduced flow (or
no flow) during non-monsoon in the sub-catchments as-
sociated with degraded and altered landscapes, changes in
the physical properties of soil and local temperature. The
land-use alterations due to intense societal pressures with
increasing water demands have led to negative eco-
hydrological footprint with water scarcity ranging be-
tween 4 and 8 months.
Assessment of eco-hydrological status confirms the
role of forests with native species in retaining water (in
the catchment), which is available to meet the demands
throughout the year.
Field ecological survey through quadrat-based tran-
sects (156) along with opportunistic studies yielded 1068
species of flowering plants representing 138 families. Of
these, 278 were tree species (from 59 families), 285 were
shrubs species (73 families) and 505 were herb species
(55 families). Moraceae, the family of figs (Ficus spp.),
which constitutes keystone resource for animals, was
represented by maximum tree species (18), followed by
Euphorbiaceae (16), Leguminosae (15), Lauraceae (14),
Anacardiaceae (13) and Rubiaceae (13 species). Shrub
species richness was represented by Leguminosae (32
species), Rubiaceae (24) and Euphorbiaceae (24 species).
Among herbs, grasses (Poaceae) were the most specious
(77 species), followed by sedges (Cyperaceae) with 67
species Orchids (Orchidaceae) were found in good num-
bers96,97. The flora in the contiguous forests of the district
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020 1389
included the most threatened and vulnerable species such
as Wisneria triandra, Holigarna beddomei, Holigarna
grahamii, Garcinia gummi gutta, Hopea ponga, Diospy-
ros candolleana, Diospyros paniculata, Diospyros
saldanhae, Cinnamomum malabatrum, Myristica malaba-
rica and Psydrax umbellate. Wildlife included predators
such as tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard, wild dog (dhole)
and sloth bear. Prey animals like barking deer, spotted
deer (Axis axis), wild boar, sambar (Cervus unicolor),
gaur (Bos gaurus) were also found.
Figure 6 shows forest status (forest cover, fragmenta-
tion) in relation to temperature, flora, fauna, water qua-
lity, flow duration and eco-hydrological status across the
river basins. The correlation among these variables is
evident from the occurrence of: (i) endemic species of
flora (100 species per sub-basin), (ii) fauna (50 species
per sub basin), (iii) occurrence of perennial streams, (iv)
good water quality, (v) moderate temperature, and (vi)
sufficient water availability in the catchments with conti-
guous intact native forests. On the contrary, degraded
landscape supports lower floral (<50 species) and faunal
(<25 species) diversity. Societal activities in the upper
reaches (of rivers) towards the transition zones and plain
lands were higher compared to the WG. Absence (mini-
mally present) of intact mature forests in the socially
active regions has led to decline in river flow (seasonal or
intermittent flow). The rivers in these regions (upper
reaches) have been polluted with domestic sewage, agri-
cultural run-off and industrial effluents. The temperatures
in altered catchments with degraded landscapes are high-
er across all agroclimatic zones.
Information related to biodiversity and ecology of the
region was compiled through literature review and field
measurements. Ecologically sensitive regions (ESRs)
were delineated based on the geoclimatic, land, ecologi-
cal and hydrological parameters (Figure 7)98. Comparing
ESR with the eco-hydrological status (Figure 6) confirms
the ecological sensitivity linkages with the hydrological
regime of a region. This is evident form the presence of
perennial streams (in ESR 1 and 2), when the catchment
dominated by the native plant species cover (>60%) with
abundance of endemic species. This highlights the linkag-
es of hydrology, biodiversity and ecology with land-use
dynamics in a riverscape.
People’s livelihood and eco-hydrological status
of a catchment
A comparative assessment of people’s livelihood has
been made with soil water properties and availability of
water in the respective catchment. The result shows that,
catchments with >60% vegetation with native species
have higher soil moisture and groundwater compared to
the catchments (of seasonal streams) during dry spell of a
year. The higher soil moisture due to availability of water
during all seasons facilitates farming of commercial crops
with higher economic returns to farmers, unlike those
farmers who face water crisis during the lean season. The
study emphasizes the need for conservation by maintain-
ing native vegetation in the catchments, highlighting its
potential to support people’s livelihood with water con-
servation at local and regional levels. Both plantation and
agricultural crops have been considered for valuation in
select catchments of perennial and seasonal streams.
Plantation crops (viz. areca nut, coconut, banana, beetle
leaf and pepper) are the major income-generating pro-
ducts in the catchment areas of perennial streams. In this
sector a gross average income of Rs 311,701 ha–1 yr–1
(during 2009–10) was generated from plantation crops as
against an average expenditure of Rs 37,043 ha–1 yr–1
(mainly for plantation maintenance), yielding a net profit
of Rs 274,658 ha–1 yr–1. On the contrary, in the catchment
of seasonal streams (where both plantation and rice fields
were considered for income calculation), the average
gross income generated was Rs 150,679 ha–1 yr–1 against
expenditure for plantation maintenance and field prepara-
tion of Rs 6474 ha–1 yr–1.
Faunal diversity and total economic value
The presence of contiguous or intact forests with native
species maintains the natural flow conditions and water
Figure 7. Ecologically sensitive regions in Uttara Kannada district, Kar-
nataka, India.
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020
1390
Table 1. Estuarine faunal diversity and total economic value (TEV)65,71,84,100
River basin Dams Fishes (sp. count) Gastropods/bivalves (sp. count) TEV (Rs in million/ha/yr)
Kali Six reservoirs 61 7 2.5
Gangavali Presence of small check dams 55 6 2.6
Aghanashini Presence of small check dams 86 7 5.0
Sharavati Three reservoirs 43 2 1.3
quality. Alteration in the natural flow regime through
construction of reservoirs for impounding water and re-
leasing according to societal needs has led to an imbal-
ance in the ecosystem, loss of habitat, alteration of water
quality, etc. Altogether 61 fish species from 47 genera
and 38 families were recorded from the Kali estuary.
Gangavali had 55 species of fish from 46 genera and 39
families. Aghanashini had the highest diversity of fishes;
86 species belonging to 66 genera and 47 families, while
Sharavati had the lowest with 43 species from 25 genera
and 24 families60,99. High diversity in Aghanashini estu-
ary is obviously due to preservation of relatively better
natural condition of the river, unaffected by dams or other
major developmental projects. However, shell and sand
mining which have intensified in recent decades, have a
telling effect on estuarine fish population and livelihood
based on them60.
The estuaries of the four rivers under discussion
spreading across 7,549 ha area support significantly the
employment sector in the district, accounting for about
2,092,000 fishing days/yr, benefiting an estimated 3086
families of estuarine fishermen, generating 277 days of
fishing work per year and generating an income of Rs
88,157/ha/yr. This is significant, considering that income is
only due to fishing efforts without any external input . This
is because mechanized fishing is not practised in the est-
uaries of the district. The estuarine area required for fish-
ing is 0.56 ha per head in Gangavali and Aghanashini
(both are without dams), 1.58 ha in Kali and a whopping
4.72 ha in Sharavati (impacted by a series of hydroelec-
tric projects).
Table 1 lists estuarine faunal diversity with the total
economic value, which highlights the importance of
maintaining natural flows to sustain estuarine biodiversi-
ty and ecosystem goods and services. Natural flows are
regulated in the Kali and Sharavati rivers with reservoirs
built across them for producing electricity at Supa, Koda-
salli, Kadra (Kali) and Linganmakki (Sharavati). Con-
trolled flows alter the salinity and nutrient levels in the
estuaries, which results in the lowering of goods and
services as evident from the total economic value (TEV)
per hectare. TEV is 1.2 million rupees (Sharavati) and
2.5 million rupees (Kali) compared to 5 million rupees
per hectare per year in Aghanashini or 2.6 million rupees
per hectare per year in the Gangavali. Gangavali and
Aghanashini rivers are devoid of reservoirs and the flow
in these rivers is natural. This ecology also has led to
higher diversity of bivalves, which consist of about 13
species in Gangavali and 86 species in Aghanashini65.
The study reiterates the need for maintaining the natural
flow regime and prudent management of watershed to (i)
sustain higher faunal diversity, (ii) maintain the health of
the water body and (iii) sustain people’s livelihood with
higher revenues. The study negates the current decision-
makers’ approach with the assumption ‘freshwater flow-
ing into the sea is a waste of a precious natural resource’,
and highlights the importance of maintaining forests with
native vegetation in the catchment areas to sustain water
quality and quantity of the rivers during all seasons. The
unregulated flow in rivers can maintain the health and
biodiversity in the downstream regions, including coastal
waters, wetlands (mangroves, seagrass beds, floodplains),
and estuaries.
Conclusion
Watershed of a river plays a vital role in sustaining the
hydrological regime. Analysis of landscape dynamics
across the west-flowing major rivers of Uttara Kannada
district (Central WG), reveals degradation of forests from
74.19% (1973) to 48.04% (2018) with loss of evergreen
forests from 56.07% to 24.85% due to large-scale deve-
lopmental activities such as construction of dams, power
projects, forest based industries – paper mills, expansion
of roads, urbanization, encroachment for horticultural and
agricultural practices. The forests are currently confined
to the WG and protected areas.
Alterations of landscape structure in the catchment
areas influence the hydrological regime leading to varia-
tions in the hydrological status. Assessment of sub-basin-
wise eco-hydrological footprint across river basins with
varied levels of anthropogenic stress emphasizes the role
of forests on infiltration and evapotranspiration capabili-
ties. Sub-basins with forest cover with higher proportion
of native species have higher eco-hydrological index,
suggesting that the availability of water can satisfactorily
maintain biotic demands, whereas sub-basins dominated
by monoculture have low index which indicates water
scarcity. Inter-annual variability of water availability and
demand footprints indicate that the sub-basins between
coasts and the WG have perennial river streams, whereas
transition zones between the WG and plains towards the
east show deficit of water for 6–10 months in a year with
intermittent and seasonal flow. Occurrence of streams
with 12 months flow in ESRs (1 and 2) confirms the
linkages of hydrological regime with ecological sensitivity
of a region. This highlights that streams are perennial in
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 118, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2020 1391
the catchments with native forest cover >65% having
higher proportion of endemic plant species. The signific-
ance of land cover with native undisturbed forests (inte-
rior forests) in maintaining flow regime in the rivers,
micro-climate and biodiversity is evident with the com-
parative analysis of temperature, biodiversity, water qua-
lity, forests and hydro-ecological flows. The catchments
with perennial rivers support rich biodiversity with higher
number of species of both flora and fauna.
Assessment of spatial patterns of biodiversity across
the four river basins reveals the occurrence of endemic
flora and fauna in the catchments with perennial streams.
Similarly, aquatic diversity across these four river estu-
aries indicates that due to the natural flow regime, Agha-
nashini has the highest diversity followed by Gangavali,
Kali and Sharavati, which have altered salinity conditions
due to river flow that is regulated by reservoirs.
Anthropogenic activities (industries, horticulture, etc.)
in the upper reaches of rivers have a negative impact on
the pristine nature of water, i.e. high pollution levels have
been observed in the catchments with towns/cities with
high population (Hubli, Dharwad, Sirsi, Sagar) and indus-
tries (Dandeli). Forests help in remediation and mainten-
ance of water quality in the downstream regions. They
also help in moderating micro-climate as evident from the
lower surface temperatures in forested catchments com-
pared to the degraded landscapes. Regulation of water
flow in the river impacts people’s livelihood downstream,
as evident from the lowered values of ecosystem goods
and services as in Kali and Sharavati estuaries (TEV
<2.5 million rupees/yr/ha) compared to river basins with
natural flow as in Aghanashini estuary (with the higher
fish diversity and TEV of >5 million rupees/yr/ha).
The study provides insights on the role of native vege-
tation in (i) sustaining water availability during all sea-
sons to meet biotic demands, (ii) supporting rich endemic
biodiversity, (iii) maintaining water quality through bio-
remediation, (iv) promoting higher ecosystem goods and
services, and (v) supporting livelihood of people depen-
dent on indigenous resources. Understanding these
linkages would help the planners/decision-makers with
valuable knowledge for integrated river-basin manage-
ment in an era dominated by indiscriminate development
of river catchment areas involving enhanced deforesta-
tion, frequent instances of altering natural regime, inap-
propriate cropping and poor water efficiency.
The study highlights the vital ecological function of a
riverscape in sustaining the hydrological regime when
covered with vegetation of native species. The presence
of perennial streams in sub-catchment dominated by
native vegetation contrasts the seasonal streams in the
catchment dominated by anthropogenic activities with
monoculture plantations. Hence, the premium should be
towards conservation of forests with native species in
order to sustain water and biotic diversity in the water
bodies, which are vital for food security. There exists a
chance to restore the lost natural evergreen to semi-
evergreen forests through appropriate conservation and
management practices. Eco-hydrological assessment
across riverscapes of varied levels of anthropogenic stress
highlights the water retention capability of a riverscape
dominated by vegetation of native species to sustain the
local societal and ecological demands, which is useful in
the integrated management of riverscapes (watershed,
catchment or basin) in India by the respective govern-
ment agencies.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We thank UNSD and the Ministry of Sta-
tistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI);
NRDMS Division, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of
Science and Technology, GoI; Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru,
and ENVIS Division, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate
Change, GoI, for financial support. We thank also Vishnu Mukri and
Srikanth Naik for assistance during field data collection.
Received 13 August 2019; revised accepted 30 December 2019
doi: 10.18520/cs/v118/i9/1379-1393
... After precipitation, a portion of the rainfall that flows in the streams is (i) surface run-off or direct run-off and (ii) subsurface run-off. Surface run-off refers to the portion of water that directly enters into the streams during rainfall, which is estimated based on the empirical relationships [9][10][11]21,22] considering run-off coefficient, depending on land uses [56]. ...
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Landscapes are the composition of dynamic heterogeneous components of complex ecological, economic, and cultural elements on which human and other life forms depend directly. Landscape dynamics driven by land use land cover (LULC) changes due to anthropogenic activities are affecting ecology, biodiversity, hydrological regime, and hence people’s livelihood. There has been increasing apprehensions about environmental degradation, depletion of natural resources due to uncontrolled anthropogenic activities, and its consequences on the long-term sustainability of socio-economic systems around the world. This necessitates an understanding of landscape dynamics and the visualization of likely changes for evolving appropriate strategies for prudent management of natural resources. Modeling of forest cover changes offers to incorporate human decision making on land use in a systematic and spatially explicit way through an accumulation of land use choices, social interaction, and adaptation at various levels. Several models developed by the research community so far has largely been utilized to evaluate the empirical studies, explore theoretical aspects of particular systems rather than forecasting their effectiveness across the various landscapes representing bio-physical dissimilarities. In this regard, the objectives of the current research are to understand and model the spatiotemporal patterns of landscape dynamics in the Uttara Kannada district of Central Western Ghats. This involves, (i) developing an appropriate modeling framework incorporating the spatiotemporal changes in the forested landscape at the regional level; (ii) implementing a hybrid model to capture the changes at the landscape level by integrating bio-ecological aspects with socio-economic growth; (iii) evaluating the environmental conditions in response to scenarios of drivers of change like developmental policies and their potential impacts; (iv) assessing the likely scenario of the landscape dynamics based on policies of conservation of ecologically sensitive regions (ESR) and other recommendations. The vegetation dynamics quantified using spatial data acquired through spaceborne sensors at regular intervals along with collateral data shows a decline in vegetation cover from 92.87% (1973) to 80.42% (2016). Land use analyses through supervised classifiers based on the Gaussian maximum likelihood algorithm reveals a deforestation trend as evident from the decline of evergreen-semi evergreen forest cover to 29.5% (2016) from 67.73% (1973). In addition, agricultural spatial extent (7.00 to 14.3 %) and the area under human habitations (0.38% to 4.97%) have also shown a steep increase. This has also led to forest fragmentation (interior forest cover lost by 64.42 to 22.25 %) in the district. In order to visualize the likely changes, the current work proposes a modified Hybrid Fuzzy-Analytical Hierarchical Process-Markov Cellular Automata model by accounting for the land use changes and to evaluate the role of policy decisions. The proposed hybrid modeling approach with the constraints in the cellular automata technique has been used to simulate various scenarios (i) managed growth rate (2022), (ii) IPCC climate change rapid growth (2031, 2046), (iii) policy-induced constrained Ecological Sensitive Regions. The rapid growth rate scenario highlights a likely loss of forest cover by 11.1%, with an increase in plantations covering 20.9% and built-up as 10.2% of the region by 2046. Land use changes assessed through considering constraints of Ecological Sensitive Regions (ESR-1) and the protection of intact or contiguous (interior) forest patches, highlights the role of policy decisions in land use changes. ESR-1 protection scenario shows forest cover is likely to remain at 48% (2021) and 45% (2031) though there is an increase in built-up area from 5.8 to 7% (2031) and agriculture area. The comparison of policy scenario-1 (ESR-1) and scenario-2 (protection of interior forest) depicts scenario-1 focuses more on conservation and limits the growth to the ESR- 2, 3 and 4 regions, whereas scenario-2 shows growth can occur throughout the district excluding regions covered with interior forests, which is likely to induce further fragmentation of forests. This research shows that the insights from the changes to the forest cover and its dynamics through modeling will aid decision making processes for formulating appropriate land use policies. It is important that such policies mitigate changes in the ecologically sensitive regions and maintain sustenance of natural resources to ensure water and food security while supporting the livelihood of local people. The book consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the landscape, ecosystem process, and issues and concerns associated with land use land cover changes. This chapter elaborates on the necessity of modeling landscape dynamics and provides a detailed review of the different geospatial modeling techniques (spatial, non-spatial, statistical, geospatial, agent-based modeling techniques, etc.) and their effective usage in planning and natural resource management. The review also looks at various studies on forest land use changes and modeling techniques used for the Indian and global context. Chapter 2 provides an overview of current modeling techniques and the development of a suitable hybrid model and its mathematical formulation. Chapter 3 provides a brief overview of the study area considered i.e. Uttara Kannada district, Central Western Ghats for implementation of models. The chapter provides details of geology, climate, rainfall, demography, the economic, historic significance of the region. It also articulates the various data sets used for the analysis and their significance. Chapter 4 presents land use land cover dynamics in the Uttara Kannada district and fragmentation of forests based on remote sensing analysis. Chapter 5 proposes the framework for identification of Ecologically Sensitive Regions (ESR) for conservation by integrating spatial, bio-geo climatic, and social variables. This chapter also provides the allowable developmental activities for the sustainable growth of the region. Chapter 6 presents modeling and simulation of the region and project likely changes in the ecologically significant landscape. This chapter also presents the results of the proposed hybrid Fuzzy-AHP-MCCA technique and simulates likely changes, and also evaluates the likely scenario of the landscape dynamics with the conservation of ESR and policy recommendations. The model helps understand how the identification of ESR, and its integration in the model to set the limits for the growth under (i) implementation of conservation in ESR-1 and allowing development in ESR 2-4; (ii) limiting LU conversion by considering interior forest and protected areas as constraints; will affect the changes in the land use patterns. Finally, the research is concluded with the significant results from this modeling effort, which helps policy and decision makers. Finally, the book concludes with the significant results from the modeling efforts and inferences that can be drawn on how the model helps policy and decision makers understand the impact of the choices made at a macro-scale and their impact at the local levels.
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