Dynamics of Asian Elephant Habitat in Shivalik Landscape and Environs of Kalesar-Rajaji–Corbett Protected Area Network

Sanjay Babu, Sarnam Singh, S. P. Goyal, Megha Shruti

Abstract


Kalesar-Rajaji–Corbett National Parks and Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary are part of protected area network in Shivalik landscape, and western most distribution limit for Asian elephant. During the past four decades the forest-agricultural-urban landscape and environs have undergone changes due to migration of humans, urban sprawl, infrastructure and industrial development within and very close proximity to protected areas. These changes could be linked to increased levels of human-animal conflicts. The present study  analyses the forest cover and land use/land cover dynamics in the last 36 years using Landsat multispectral satellite images of year 1979, 1991, 2003 and 2015.  The overall classification accuracy is 84.01% for 1979, 86.53% for 1991, 87.24% for 2003 and 89.12% for 2015. The study indicates that forest cover is nearly stable but environs of landscape have undergone changes with the highest during 2003-2015, soon after the formation of Uttarakhand state. The built-up and orchards have increased by about 185.23 km2 and 117.93 km2 for the period 1979-2015 in close proximity of protected areas around cities like Hardwar, Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, etc., juxtaposed to the habitats of elephant, tiger, leopard, spotted deer, hog deer and affecting the Motichur-Chilla corridor. In the forest area, the highest changes are observed in ravine forest with 20.19 km2 increase.

Keywords


Shivalik Landscape; Time-series Satellite Data; Forest Cover; Land Cover /Land Use Dynamics.

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