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

Decadal forest cover loss analysis over Indian forests using MODIS 250m imagery

R. Suraj Reddy, G. Srivastava, G. Rajashekar, C. S. Jha, and V. K. Dadhwal

Keywords: Forest disturbance, Change detection, Integrated Forest Z-score (IFZ), MODIS, Time series

Abstract. India is endowed with a rich forest cover. Over 21 % of country's area is covered by forest of varied composition and structure. Due to large amount of carbon stored in forests and their role in land surface and climatic processes, it is important to monitor forests for effective management and modeling studies. The disturbance regimes associated with forest regeneration and recovery, occurring in a heterogeneous matrix of confounding land covers makes forest monitoring an involved and complex task. Over a 13 year period (2000–2013), detection of forest cover loss at regional scale using a coarse resolution imaging sensor (MODIS −250m) in Indian forests is attempted in the present study. MODIS provides a rich basis for forest cover monitoring at regional scales on an interannual to decadal timescales due its huge database and high temporal frequency. Forest cover loss across different forest types in parts of Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Telangana states were identified using a forest-likelihood and a multi-thresholding approach. The study reveals that considerable amount of deforested patches exist over the study areas during the 2000 to 2013. Results also suggested that the detection accuracy improved with the increase of fraction of deforestation in the MODIS pixel, but still relatively small changes were also detected.