Environmental Assessment of Land Degradation: A Case Study of NW Himalayas, Pakistan

K. Khan, A.S. Almas, and M.N. Chaudhry (Pakistan)


Environmental Assessment, Vegetation Index, ThematicMapper, Land degradation.


The present research aims at evaluating change in land degradation concerning climatic variations and human impact over a period of Nine years (1992-2001). Digital image processing, classification and ratioing techniques were applied to Landsat imagery datasets to assess changes in vegetal cover and other landcover features at Kunhar River Valley situated in the outer Himalayan region. Owing to heterogeneity of the study area, diverse change in the afore-said features was detected. Results of the study reveal that the land degradation processes correspond to the climatic variation and re-vegetation on slopes causing decrease in area extents of pasturelands. In addition to other datasets, climate data, involving decreasing amount of perpetual snow-cover, less rainfall and wind regimes, was exploited to achieve the study objectives. Field research indicates that over-grazing due to growing number of livestock, increasing human population pressure on pasturelands, construction of roads and settlements, over-exploitation of water resources and over-harvesting of hydrophytic perennial grass, Phragmites Communis that grows at the edges of steep slopes and river bed, for livestock and hay production, are among major human activities. On the basis of different levels of land degradation, remedial measures in support of reducing the intensity of land degradation were suggested.

Important Links:

Go Back