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Effects of Land cover change on top soil properties and erosion: a case study of Merawu catchment, Indonesia

Paudel, Diwakar (2010) Effects of Land cover change on top soil properties and erosion: a case study of Merawu catchment, Indonesia.

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Abstract:Land cover change is a global phenomenon. The change of forest cover into cropland or settlement has been one of the prominent problems that can have detrimental impact on the environment. To overcome this problem, the counter actions taken by respective stakeholders are very much important and one of the challenging job. The alarming rate of forest resources conversion into cropland not only affects the condition of natural environment but also affects the livelihood of the people from its hazardous effects such as floods, landslide, and soil erosion. So, essential action oriented approach are vital to identify and quantify the areas where utmost actions are required. This study aims to analyze the effect of land cover change on selected top soil properties and soil erosion by water in the Merawu catchment of Central Java Indonesia. Very limited studies have been done in this aspect. So, this study was conducted in Merawu to identify the land cover change. Besides, study of selected top soil properties were also carried out using field methods. First, the land cover mapping was performed using the Landsat Images of 1991, 2001 and 2009 to assess the land cover change over time. Post classification comparison method was employed to compare the change between two dates. Out of 220309 hectares of total land covers occupying by four classes namely dense forest, shrub land, mixed forest/agro-forestry and crop land. Area coverage of dense forest has reduced from 3247 to 2514 hectares representing 23% reduction of its original size and overall percentage of change of about by 3% change in 18 years of period. Shrub land and sparse trees area has also reduced in size from 7727 to 5836 hectares representing 24.5% of its original area and about 9% of total land area of the catchment. Mixed forest/ Agro-forestry area has increased from 7960 to 9123 which covers about 15% of its original area and overall change is of 5 %. Likewise, cropland has also increased from its 3104 to 4565 hectares which covers 47% of its original size and overall percentage of change is of 7 %. Overall change from year 1991 to 2009 was found 24% within 18 years of period. Another important part of the study was to find out the temporal land cover change trajectories. Overall 22 temporal land cover change trajectories were established as final trajectories from the image data, soil sample locations and historical information obtained from the field. Additionally simple field methods were applied to identify the selected top soil properties such as soil texture, soil compaction, soil strength, soil colour, soil pH, soil aggregate stability, soil structure were applied in the field. The effect of land cover change on top soil properties, soil compaction and soil strength were found significantly different at P value of <0.05. Some erosion evidences and measured soil properties have shown that the effect of land cover change on top soil properties found different d with land cover types. Soil compaction in dense forest particularly planted pine forest shows the higher mean value than other land cover types. Interestingly, OM content in crop land was found higher than other land cover type however the variation is not statistically significant. Although the susceptibility of erosion in croplands is much higher than other land cover types because of anthropogenic as well as inherent properties of soils as well.. Field methods to identify the top soil properties are simple and easier but careful attention with consistency is very much important to adopt the methods correctly. Key words: Land covers change, change detection, post classification comparison, trajectory, soil properties, and erosion
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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