The concept of land degradation means a temporary or permanent long-term decline in an ecosystem function and its productive capacity. Land degradation is the result of numerous factors or a combination thereof, including physical (climate change, soil degradation) as well as anthropogenic activities such as unsustainable land management practices. The present study primarily concerns the processes and status of land degradation in a part of the eastern Chotanagpur Plateau, India. The basin falls under the transitional zone, is undulating in nature and situated between the Chotanagpur Plateau area in the west and the greater Ganga plain area in the east. Largely, the basin falls under the Ganga River system. The major part of the population (>70%) of the area is dependent on agriculture which is largely affected by land degradation as well as soil erosion processes. The status of land degradation is estimated from different physical factors (geology, soil, geomorphology, slope, relief, groundwater, drainage density, rainfall intensity, green biomass cover) as well as anthropogenic factors (land use land cover change, population pressure on agricultural land, deforestation, irrigation intensity etc.). All these factors have been weighted with considerable importance to show the resultant varying intensities of land degradation. The different factor weighted raster has been multiplied in the GIS environment. The different vulnerable land degradation areas have been identified on the basis of the final weighted value. It has been shown that the upper reaches of the basin is considerably more prone to degradation due to its rugged topography, poor soil development and high drainage density. In the lower reaches of the Silabati River, the left bank is characterized by a high degreee of slope whereas the right bank shows intensive agricultural density, which couple up, to cause medium to high degree of land degradation vulnerability.
Environmental Processes – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 20, 2017
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