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Article

A Novel Approach for Forest Fragmentation Susceptibility Mapping and Assessment: A Case Study from the Indian Himalayan Region

1
Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0809, Japan
2
Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
3
Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Bogdan Andrei Mihai and Mihai Nita
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(20), 4090; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13204090
Received: 30 August 2021 / Revised: 8 October 2021 / Accepted: 8 October 2021 / Published: 13 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Mountain Ecosystems)
An estimation of where forest fragmentation is likely to occur is critically important for improving the integrity of the forest landscape. We prepare a forest fragmentation susceptibility map for the first time by developing an integrated model and identify its causative factors in the forest landscape. Our proposed model is based upon the synergistic use of the earth observation data, forest fragmentation approach, patch forests, causative factors, and the weight-of-evidence (WOE) method in a Geographical Information System (GIS) platform. We evaluate the applicability of the proposed model in the Indian Himalayan region, a region of rich biodiversity and environmental significance in the Indian subcontinent. To obtain a forest fragmentation susceptibility map, we used patch forests as past evidence of completely degraded forests. Subsequently, we used these patch forests in the WOE method to assign the standardized weight value to each class of causative factors tested by the Variance Inflation Factor (VIF) method. Finally, we prepare a forest fragmentation susceptibility map and classify it into five levels: very low, low, medium, high, and very high and test its validity using 30% randomly selected patch forests. Our study reveals that around 40% of the study area is highly susceptible to forest fragmentation. This study identifies that forest fragmentation is more likely to occur if proximity to built-up areas, roads, agricultural lands, and streams is low, whereas it is less likely to occur in higher altitude zones (more than 2000 m a.s.l.). Additionally, forest fragmentation will likely occur in areas mainly facing south, east, southwest, and southeast directions and on very gentle and gentle slopes (less than 25 degrees). This study identifies Himalayan moist temperate and pine forests as being likely to be most affected by forest fragmentation in the future. The results suggest that the study area would experience more forest fragmentation in the future, meaning loss of forest landscape integrity and rich biodiversity in the Indian Himalayan region. Our integrated model achieved a prediction accuracy of 88.7%, indicating good accuracy of the model. This study will be helpful to minimize forest fragmentation and improve the integrity of the forest landscape by implementing forest restoration and reforestation schemes. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest fragmentation susceptibility; forest landscape integrity; patch forests; land-use/land-cover change; forest conversion and loss; weight-of-evidence; Indian Himalayan region; remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS) forest fragmentation susceptibility; forest landscape integrity; patch forests; land-use/land-cover change; forest conversion and loss; weight-of-evidence; Indian Himalayan region; remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Batar, A.K.; Shibata, H.; Watanabe, T. A Novel Approach for Forest Fragmentation Susceptibility Mapping and Assessment: A Case Study from the Indian Himalayan Region. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 4090. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13204090

AMA Style

Batar AK, Shibata H, Watanabe T. A Novel Approach for Forest Fragmentation Susceptibility Mapping and Assessment: A Case Study from the Indian Himalayan Region. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(20):4090. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13204090

Chicago/Turabian Style

Batar, Amit Kumar, Hideaki Shibata, and Teiji Watanabe. 2021. "A Novel Approach for Forest Fragmentation Susceptibility Mapping and Assessment: A Case Study from the Indian Himalayan Region" Remote Sensing 13, no. 20: 4090. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13204090

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