Forest cover change and carbon stock assessment in Swat valley using remote sensing and geographical information systems

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Sajid Ali Wajid Ali Salman Khan, Abdullah Khan, Zia Ur Rahman Arshad Iqbal


Swat Valley is located in the Himalayan-Karakorum-Hindu Kush belt in North Western Pakistan. Remote Sensing and GIS techniques were used as a tool to characterize the rate of change, taking into consideration various land use and land cover parameters i.e. forest cover, snow, agriculture, pastures, water bodies, urban and barren land, as indicators of environmental change over the past two decades (1992-2011). The results show that considerable decrease in snow cover, pastures and forest cover has occurred during the period (1992-2011). A comparison of the results of the study with previous work also shows that there is a declining trend in the forest cover and snow, while agricultural and urban areas are expanding. The study also includes an assessment of carbon stock decline derived from the forest cover over the period of study mentioned above.

Keywords: Environmental change; Swat valley; Land use; Land cover; Carbon stocks

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