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Remote Sensing and GIS Based Approach for Vulnerability Assessment of an Agricultural Watershed

Arabinda Sharma


The paper aimed at identifying the microwatersheds that have undergone critical changes over the period 1989 to 2004 using geographic information system (GIS) based landscape analysis. Satellite imageries of years 1989 and 2004 were used to examine the land use dynamics over a span 15 years. Three landscape metrics namely Contagion, Fractal Dimension and Dominance were used for quantifying the change in pattern due to land use dynamics. Subsequently, change in soil erosion potential of the watershed was analyzed using universal soil loss equation model (USLE). Finally, the results of landscape dynamics and soil loss were integrated to identify the critical microwatersheds. Results showed that the overall soil erosion potential of the watershed has been increased over the study period and only eight out of 205 microwatersheds were falling under high vulnerability class. The results also demonstrated the capability of remote sensing and GIS based landscape analysis to characterize the land use dynamics and their effect on watershed health. The study is one of the few instances where geoinformatics was used to integrate landscape analysis and soil erosion model for identifying and monitoring the watershed health. The paper will help to understand land use dynamics and provide the policy maker useful information for better management and planning of dwindling resources at watershed scale.


Remote sensing, GIS, landscape analysis, soil erosion, watershed vulnerability

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