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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(10), 9260-9276; doi:10.3390/rs6109260

Application of MODIS Land Products to Assessment of Land Degradation of Alpine Rangeland in Northern India with Limited Ground-Based Information

1
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Miyazaki, 1-1, Gakuen Kibanadai-Nishi, Miyazaki 889-2192, Japan
2
Scientific Information Program, Tokyo University of Agriculture, 1-1-1, Sakuragaoaka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8502, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 March 2014 / Revised: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
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Abstract

Land degradation of alpine rangeland in Dachigam National Park, Northern India, was evaluated in this study using MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land products. The park has been used by a variety of livestock holders. With increasing numbers of livestock, the managers and users of the park are apprehensive about degradation of the grazing land. However, owing to weak infrastructure for scientific and statistical data collection and sociopolitical restrictions in the region, a lack of quality ground-based weather, vegetation, and livestock statistical data had prevented scientific assessment. Under these circumstances, the present study aimed to assess the rangeland environment and its degradation using MODIS vegetation, snow, and evapotranspiration products as primary input data for assessment. The result of the analysis indicated that soil water content and the timing of snowmelt play an important role in grass production in the area. Additionally, the possibility of land degradation in heavily-grazed rangeland was indicated via a multiple regression analysis at a decadal timescale, whereas weather conditions, such as rainfall and snow cover, primarily explained year-by-year differences in grass production. Although statistical uncertainties remain in the results derived in this study, the satellite-based data and the analyses will promote understanding of the rangeland environment and suggest the potential for unsustainable land management based on statistical probability. This study provides an important initial evaluation of alpine rangeland, for which ground-based information is limited. View Full-Text
Keywords: overgrazing; alpine rangeland; Northern India; satellite observation; MODIS overgrazing; alpine rangeland; Northern India; satellite observation; MODIS
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Tasumi, M.; Hirakawa, K.; Hasegawa, N.; Nishiwaki, A.; Kimura, R. Application of MODIS Land Products to Assessment of Land Degradation of Alpine Rangeland in Northern India with Limited Ground-Based Information. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 9260-9276.

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