Deciphering forest change: Linking satellite-based forest cover change and community perceptions in a threatened landscape in India

Aditya, Vikram and Ganesh, T (2018) Deciphering forest change: Linking satellite-based forest cover change and community perceptions in a threatened landscape in India. Ambio, 47 (7). ISSN 0044-7447

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Abstract

Global conservation efforts have traditionally focused on biodiversity hotspots and other priority landscapes. However, large areas outside priority sites have high conservation value and are referred to as neglected landscapes. The Eastern Ghats of India is an unexplored forest landscape of high conservation value with several endemic and threatened species reported, and is also home to many indigenous forest-dwelling communities. However, it remains a neglected area for conservation and only 3.53% of this landscape is protected. Here, we examine the effectiveness of protected areas in neglected landscapes in preventing forest degradation, and how community perceptions can be used to understand satellite-based landscape change analyses at the village level. This study was conducted in Papikonda National park (PNP) and its unprotected buffers in India’s Eastern Ghats. Forest degradation was higher in the buffer (32%) than inside PNP (12%) between 1991 and 2014. Communities attributed shifting cultivation, plantations and overextraction of forest resources as being the major drivers of forest degradation. Community observations of change were not significantly correlated with spatial measures of change. Forest degradation was higher outside the PA at a landscape level and inside the PA at the village level, therefore the PA was effective in reducing degradation at the landscape level but not at the village level inside the PA. We further discuss the role of community observations in interpreting forest degradation in neglected forest landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community observations; Eastern Ghats; Forest degradation; India; Protected areas
Subjects: C Publications by ATREEians > G Journal Papers
Divisions: Publications by ATREEians > Journal Papers
Depositing User: The Library Officer
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2019 10:52
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2019 10:52
URI: http://eprints.atree.org/id/eprint/590

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