Status and future transition of rapid urbanizing landscape in central Western Ghats - CA based approach
Keywords: Land use, Vegetation transition, Neighborhood impact, CA-MARKOV, Western Ghats
Abstract. The land use changes in forested landscape are highly complex and dynamic, affected by the natural, socio-economic, cultural, political and other factors. The remote sensing (RS) and geographical information system (GIS) techniques coupled with multi-criteria evaluation functions such as Markov-cellular automata (CA–Markov) model helps in analysing intensity, extent and future forecasting of human activities affecting the terrestrial biosphere. Karwar taluk of Central Western Ghats in Karnataka state, India has seen rapid transitions in its forest cover due to various anthropogenic activities, primarily driven by major industrial activities. A study based on Landsat and IRS derived data along with CA–Markov method has helped in characterizing the patterns and trends of land use changes over a period of 2004–2013, expected transitions was predicted for a set of scenarios through 2013-2022. The analysis reveals the loss of pristine forest cover from 75.51% to 67.36% (1973 to 2013) and increase in agriculture land as well as built-up area of 8.65% (2013), causing impact on local flora and fauna. The other factors driving these changes are the aggregated level of demand for land, local and regional effects of land use activities such as deforestation, improper practices in expansion of agriculture and infrastructure development, deteriorating natural resources availability. The spatio temporal models helped in visualizing on-going changes apart from prediction of likely changes. The CA-Markov based analysis provides us insights into the localized changes impacting these regions and can be useful in developing appropriate mitigation management approaches based on the modelled future impacts. This necessitates immediate measures for minimizing the future impacts.