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Delineation and Validation of Notified Strip Forest (Ambala Range): A Synthesis Approach of Remote Sensing and Field Data

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Document pages: 5 pages

Abstract: The large pools of carbon in the atmosphere and outgrowing sources of emissions calls for a mandate from the Forest Department to increase potential carbon sinks maintaining environmental stability and ecological balance. Trees are major contributors to carbon absorption purifying the air. This establishes a need of the hour to increase their number for detoxifying the atmosphere and ecological restoration. Haryana being a predominantly agricultural state has its focus on identifying the areas of social forestry (extension forestry) and agro-forestry to increase its green cover. The study focuses on identification of strip forests in linear feature such as roads, railway lines, canals, distributaries, bunds etc. as notified by Haryana Forest Department. The study area Ambala Range falls into Ambala forest division of Haryana state and lies between 3003’56.497” to 30026’35.34” North longitudes to 76032’42.305” to 76057’0.902” East latitudes having an area of 57386 hectares. The present study attempts to demonstrate the utility of High-Resolution Satellite (HRS) data of Worldview- II ortho-rectified satellite data offering an immense scope to analyze the strip plantations in the study area. On-screen digitization of linear features and creation of buffer followed the provided length and width by Forest Department and was located between the GPS readings of start and end point. A variation of 55.92 km and 224.94 hectares has been found between provided and vector dimensions of length and area respectively. It was estimated that about 1957.38 ha area were found to be under the strip forest in the study area corresponding to a length of 1146.2 km against the 2182.31 ha area and 1210.5 km length notified by Haryana Forest Department (HFD) corresponding to a length. Further, validation of results was performed by conversion of shape files to .kml and overlaying on Google Earth. The study could help reduce the bias occurring between government and local bodies (encroachment) relying on the validity of results. It could also help identify additional areas which could be used for planting trees expanding the forest cover of state.

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