The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-8
28 Nov 2014
 | 28 Nov 2014

Forest climate change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment in Himalayas

V. S. Chitale, H. L. Shrestha, N. K. Agarwal, D. Choudhurya, H. Gilani, H. K. Dhonju, and M. S. R. Murthy

Keywords: Climate change, mitigation and adaptation, Geospatial tools, Climatic warming, MODIS, Bioclim

Abstract. Forests offer an important basis for creating and safeguarding more climate-resilient communities over Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment to climate change and developing knowledge base to identify and support relevant adaptation strategies is realized as an urgent need. The multi scale adaptation strategies portray increasing complexity with the increasing levels in terms of data requirements, vulnerability understanding and decision making to choose a particular adaptation strategy. We present here how such complexities could be addressed and adaptation decisions could be either directly supported by open source remote sensing based forestry products or geospatial analysis and modelled products. The forest vulnerability assessment under climate change scenario coupled with increasing forest social dependence was studied using IPCC Landscape scale Vulnerability framework in Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) situated in Nepal. Around twenty layers of geospatial information on climate, forest biophysical and forest social dependence data was used to assess forest vulnerability and associated adaptation needs using self-learning decision tree based approaches. The increase in forest fires, evapotranspiration and reduction in productivity over changing climate scenario was observed. The adaptation measures on enhancing productivity, improving resilience, reducing or avoiding pressure with spatial specificity are identified to support suitable decision making. The study provides spatial analytical framework to evaluate multitude of parameters to understand vulnerabilities and assess scope for alternative adaptation strategies with spatial explicitness.