Spatio-temporal Assessment of Forest and Land Use with reference to Galliformes habitats in the Upper Catchment of Tons Valley using Earth Observation data

Sonal Arora, Dr. Sarnam Singh, Dr. Sambandam Sathyakumar


The Himalayan Galliformes inhabit varied habitats in forested landscape of subtropical to alpine vegetation with dense to moderate undergrowth. These beautiful birds are highly secretive and sensitive to human presence. These are poached for feather and meat, and are listed in WPA Schedule I and IUCN. Therefore, information of the status of their habitats is important for long-term conservation and management planning. The forest vegetation types and land uses were mapped using Landsat series data of 1994, 2002 and 2016 for evaluating dynamics of ecosystems and/or habitats of Galliformes in upper catchment Tons river covering Govind Pashu Vihar National Park, Biodiversity hotspot region of Western Himalaya. The forest vegetation varied from degraded scrub to dense temperate broadleaf and coniferous forests that provide wide range of habitat to different species of Galliformes. Though the area is not densely populated by humans, but the activities such as fuelwood collection, lopping for fodder, overgrazing by livestock, including migratory nomadic grazers, tourists’ camps and other activities occur in the habitats of the sensitive and habitat specialist fauna including Galliformes. We used hybrid classification approach to classify three times data and an overall accuracy of these maps ranged between 81.25 % (1994), 82.85 (2002) and 84.4% (2016). The LULC area analyses indicated very marginal but significant loss in subtropical scrub (1.34 km2), and subtropical Chir Pine forest (0.53 km2) mainly due to expansion of agriculture land at lower altitude. Also, a decrease in Conifer-wooded forest (1.09 km2) was noticed due to human activities. Thus, it may be concluded that overall tree cover has not undergone drastic changes at ecosystem and landscape level and may be attributed to good forest management practices. We recommend that along with maintenance of tree cover, protection to under-storey vegetation, that is one of the critical requirements for Galliformes, is also provided.


Satellite data; Forest Cover Type Mapping; Galliformes; Biodiversity Conservation, LULC dynamics, Anthropogenic pressure.


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