Volume No. 8 Issue No.: 3 Page No.: 552-562 Jan-Mar 2014

 

A STUDY ON FOREST LOSS DUE TO RIVER MIGRATION IN SONAI-RUPAI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY OF ASSAM, INDIA USING GEOINFORMATICS

 

Saherah Jahan*, Sarbeswar Kalita1 and Binode Kumar Baruah2

1. Department of Environmental Science, Gauhati Universiy, Guwahati, Assam (INDIA) 2. Department of Zoology, Cotton College, Guwahati, Assam, (INDIA)

 

Received on : September 15, 2013

 

ABSTRACT

 

Forests are the natural resources which have been degraded during the last few decades continuously either by natural or through man-made activities. The study is carried out in Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary which is located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Sonitpur district of Assam, India. This study estimates the changes in the forest areas of the sanctuary due to river channel migration using remote sensing and GIS. The data used for the study were Survey of India toposheets for 1959-60 and 1961-62 and satellite images for 1988, 2001 and 2005. Base map of the study area was prepared by using toposheets. The contour lines from the topographical maps were digitized and TIN and DEM maps were prepared. Changes in river channels were detected during 1960-2005 through overlay analysis and their impact on forest cover was assessed. The total area covered by the river in 1960s was 11.67 sq km which increased to 16.12 sq km in 1988 but there was not much change in the river area in 2001 and 2005. It was found that river Belseri is the most meandering river and its channel has bifurcated and shifted toward west. River migration has also resulted in forest fragmentation which has further led to forest degradation and loss.

 

Keywords : Forest loss, River migration, GIS, DEM, Forest fragmentation

 

 

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