Over the past few decades, there has been a rapid change in forest and land cover, especially in tropical forests due to massive deforestation. The major factor responsible for the changes is to fulfill the growing demand of increasing population through agricultural intensification, rural settlements, and urbanization. Monitoring forest cover and vegetation are essential for detecting regional and global environmental changes. The present study evaluates the influence of deforestation on land surface temperature (LST) in the states of Kedah and Perak, Malaysia, between 1988 and 2017. The trend in forest cover change over the time span of 29 years, was analyzed using Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 satellite images to map the sequence of forest cover change. With the measurement of deforestation and its relationship with LST as an end goal, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was used to determine forest health, and the spectral radiance model was used to extract the LST. The findings of the study show that nearly 16% (189,423 ha) of forest cover in Perak and more than 9% (33,391 ha) of forest cover in Kedah have disappeared within these 29 years as a result of anthropogenic activities. The correlation between the LST and NDVI is related to the distribution of forests, where LST is inversely related to NDVI. A strong correlation between LST and NDVI was observed in this study, where the average mean of LST in Kedah (25 °C) is higher than in Perak (22.6 °C). This is also reflected by the decreased NDVI value from 0.6 to 0.5 in 2017 at both states. This demonstrated that a decrease in the vegetation area leads to an increase in the surface temperature. The resultant forest change map would be helpful for forest management in terms of identifying highly vulnerable areas. Moreover, it could help the local government to formulate a land management plan.
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