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Remote Sensing and GIS for sustainable forest management plan – A case study of bichhua forest range, Chhindwara district(M.P.)

Remote Sensing and GIS for sustainable forest management plan – A case study of bichhua forest range, Chhindwara district(M.P.)

Subhan Khan, S. Rehan Ali and M. Asif.

National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies

New Delhi-110012

Abstract
Area-wise planning needs a concerted effort to arrive at
a decision for any development activity incorporating all limiting and
de-limiting factors, their correlation and interaction. The basic need in any
planning exercise is to have a well-defined database. For this, remote-sensing
data plays an important role because of its wide coverage and unbiased
representation. An attempt has been made in the paper to monitor and record data
as well as to have a systematic understanding of the forest resource base.
Mapping and monitoring of forest cover for effective management of Bichhua
forest range along the Pench River was carried out. The study area of Bichhua
range lies within the latitude range 21°37´ to 21°52´ N and longitude range 78°
59´ to 79°15´ E. It falls in the district of Chhindwara of Madhya Pradesh.
Multi-date images of March and Oct/Nov 1989 and 1992 as well as multi-sensors,
i.e. both Land-sat TM and IRS LISS II data, have been used for the purpose.
Twenty maps on various themes were prepared for sustainable forest management of
the area. Five maps were selected for this paper to understand the management
and planning for development of the forest. PC ARC/INFO, ARCVIEW, GIS softwares
were used to prepare the maps for monitoring of forest cover. Findings and
conclusions of the study are presented in the paper. The area is largely covered
by Deccan Basalt and altered gneissic rocks exposed along the river valleys,
which cut through the thick basalt layers. The NW and SW parts of the range have
a thicker alluvium developed by the weathering of basalt as well as the alluvium
brought by the river. The central, northern and NE are more or less devoid of
soil cover, which acts as recharge surface by infiltration.
Hydrogeomorphologically, the area is an active zone of recharge as infiltration
from streams and rivers as well as rainfall received during monsoon period is
quite high. Since spatial distribution of groundwater depends on the geomorphic
and hydrological set-up of the area, an indirect approach of
hydrogeomorphological investigation has been followed in the study area. Paper
to be presented in GIS forum, South Asia ’99 an international conference
scheduled to be held during April 15-16, 1999 at Kathmandu, Nepal.

Introduction
Indian civilization and culture grew under the
greenwood trees. Therefore, forest has a major influence on India’s social,
economic, political and philosophical life and development. But the increasing
rate of deforestation is causing a tremendous loss for the country. Information
on loss and existence of forest covers needs to be updated. In this regard, GIS
and Remote Sensing (RS) can play an important role. Not only India, but the
whole world is under the threat of environmental crisis mainly due to
deforestation. Under these circumstances the study of forests for their
sustainable management and planning for development is essential. It is in this
context, the study of Bicchua range of Chhindwara district of M.P., for
preparing a working plan has been under taken.

Study Area
The study area Bichhua
range, fall under the south forest division, which lies within the latitude
range 21?37? to 21?52? N and longitude range 78?59? to 79?15? E. It lies in the
district of Chhindwara of Madhya Pradesh. Bichhua range covers 45% of the
Bichhua developmental block of Sausar tehsil. The area covered is 360 sq. km.
The block has 147 villages which, are mostly covered by Deccan Trap basaltic
rock.


Objectives

The aim of the exercise is to monitor and record data as well
as to have a systematic understanding of the forest resource base in the area.
Mapping and monitoring of forest cover for effective management of Bichhua range
along the Pench river was carried out.


Data Sources

  1. Toposheets of the area
  2. Public Health Engineering (PHE), Bichhua
  3. Satelite data-Landsat TM and IRS LISS II
  4. Census reports


Methodology

The methodology adopted involves
assimilation of GIS techniques by incorporating spatial (thematic maps) and
non-spatial (attribute defined) data for effective utilization and management of
forest resources and to conceptualize an integrated approach to create a forest
information database and remote sensing utilities to arrive at an effective
management model for forest offices and other concerned users and planners.

Remote Sensing and GIS for sustainable forest management plan – A case study of bichhua forest range, Chhindwara district(M.P.)


Result and Dicussions

i) Landuse/Land Cover The major land use/ landcover
categories that are identified in Chhindwara district are shown in Table 1:









































S.NO.Landuse/LandcoverArea in HectaresPercentage or total geographical area
1Built-up Land8140.08%
2Agricultural Land59990450.77%
3Forest46142239.05%
4Wastelands1050158.28%
5Water bodies121261.02%
6Others22190.20%
Total118150099.40


ii) Geology The oldest formations occurring in this
district comprise of Archean rocks. The rocks exposed in the area are granite,
pegmatite, gneiss, schist, amphibolite, quartzite, crystalline limestone,
marble, silicate rocks etc. The Deccan trap flows are resting over the older
lithologies (Map1). Daccan traps are of varying thickness, of basaltic and
dolomitic rocks.

iii) Soils Five types of soils are present in the district.
Alluvial soil is commonly associated with rivers and streams. Silty soil is
occurring on the bank of river Kanhan near Sausar town. Lateritic Soil is
occurring in the eastern and south-western part of the district. Sandy soil is
associated with Pench and Kanhan rivers. Black cotton soil is occurring in the
central, northern and southern parts of the district. Soil of recent origin is
developed in low-lying valleys.

iv) Forest The extent of forest as in 1992 was
interpreted from landsat-TM diapositive is given in Map 2. The total forest
broadly classified into two categories-dense forest and degraded forest. Except
for a few isolated patches, dense forest is restricted to eastern and western
parts of the range. Degraded forest occurs both within the dense forested areas
and areas close to other landuse categories.

The sand exposure has been
demarcated to get an idea of pre-monsoon retreat of water boundary of the
reservoir. From this, it has been calculated that 40% of the reservoir gets
devoid of water during summer months. All along the reservoir, besides sand,
forest is largely degraded because of main hamper tree growth Due to near
surface water table conditions.

v) Hydrogeomorphology Water resources have an
intimate relationship with forests. It gives integrated information, which is
essential for any planning for developmental activities. The study area is
mostly Deccan trap area with extensive exposure of plateau basalt, which has
been modified by the erosive activity of numerous streams and a few perenial
rivers.

Under the structural origin class, the area has been further classified
into three classes, namely, plateau top area, highly dissected basaltic plateau
and moderately dissected basaltic plateau, which are self-explanatory (Map 3).
The dissection intensity is directly proportional to the relief, slope and
drainage density. The more the number of streams, the more is the dissection of
the topography.

The denudational origin category has been subdivided into four
types: Denudational hill, Pediment, Mesa and Butte. The denudational hill is
more or less restricted to the south-west part of the range. A continuous
stretch of pediment development is encompassing the moderately dissected areas
at a low attitude. The Mesa and Butte are restricted close to the top of the
northern plateau, which signifies that they are the remnant of the same plateau
top. A few lineaments/ joints faults have been demarcated on the basis of the
interpretation of images. Some local nalas and streams follow these weaker
zones.


Table 2: Hydrogeomorphology

Class Area (in sq. km.)
Plateau Top 23.551
Highly Dissected Basaltic Plateau 106.489
Moderately Dissected Basaltic Plateau 136.654
Denudational Hill 11.087
Pediment 57.477
Mesa 1.096
Butte 0.934
Water Bodies 23.002
Total Area 360.290

Hydrogeomorphologically, the area is an active
zone of recharge, as infiltration from streams and rivers as well as rainfall
received during monsoon period is quite high. As the range covers an extensive
forest area, groundwater uptake by the trees is also high. The highly dissected
basaltic plateau and the pediment are better groundwater exploration as
development sites compared to any other landform categories (Map 3). As the
spatial distribution of groundwater depends on the geomorphic and hydrological
set-up of the area, an indirect approach of hydrogeomorphological investigation
has been followed.

vi) Water Yield In the study area the yield of water varies
from N.A. to 1000 gallons/h (Map 4). It shows greater yield of water over a
smaller capturing area and smaller yield over a large area. Forest management
can alter the water budget of the watershed by modifying the hydrologic
processes involved therein.

The studies conducted throughout the world have
demonstrated that the water yield increases on implementation of upstream forest
management practices. The increased water yield may be caused in part by changes
in one or more of the following hydrologic factors as a result of forest
management:

  1. reduced interception losses
  2. reduced evapotranspiration losses, and
  3. changes in the hydrologic properties or the soil surface and
    forest floor.


Table 3: Yield of Water

Class (in meters) Area (in sq. km.)
100-300
301-500
501-700
1000
NA
Pench National Park
103.76
78.44
57.46
2.96
33.56
48.13
Total Area 360.29

Based on the results of various studies, efforts
have been made to quantify water yield from various land covers in terms of
rainfall runoff ratio. In general, the results indicate that vegetation
management has the potential for increasing water yield from upstream
catchments. The practices of partial cutting/thinning and forest conversion seem
to be promising for improves water yield without causing appreciate soil erosion
and at the same time maintaining substantial yields of forest products.

In general, the water yield in hilly regions from natural, ill managed or untreated
agricultural lands appears to vary from 10 to 45% of animal rainfall, whereas in
well managed or treated agricultural lands, i.e. lands on which soil
conservation measures have been adopted it could vary from 4 to 34% of animal
rainfall, depending upon the type of conservation measures. In the case of
forested watersheds, water yield as percentage of rainfall to runoff appears to
vary from 1 to 43 % in hilly regions.

vii) Drainage
All the three rivers basins
of the area are having bifurcation ratio values between 4 and 6, which implies
that the area is more or less homogeneous with little variation due to local
modification of lithological changes which control the intensity of the
development of drainage patterns.(Map 4)

Drainage densities for the three basins
are somewhat different. Kulbhera basin is having subdendritic pattern, Sovna
basin has subdendritic to dendritic pattern, except SW part of the area, where
it marks parallel drainage. Pench river basin have dendritic pattern. Table
indicates the frequency values of the three rivers (no. of streams divided by
area.

The major part of the range
drams through pench river and its tributaries, showing a higher drainage
density, because the area it drains largely falls under the highly dissected
plateau and pediment area.


Table 4: Drainage Density

S.No. Basin Frequency
1.
2.
3.
Kulbhera
Sovna
Pench
1.15/sq.km.
2.58/sq.km.
3.51/sq.km.

In the western part of the reservoir, the problem of
waterlogging is prevalent more extensively after the monsoon rain, which
submerges a large part of the forested area and degradation of the forest and
resources takes place. An urgent decision is to put a contour bund to restrict
the flooding of water in this low lying area.

Remote Sensing and GIS for sustainable forest management plan – A case study of bichhua forest range, Chhindwara district(M.P.)

viii) Morphometic analysis
The area is drained by numerous local nadis and nalas (most of them are non
perennial) which ultimately merge either with Kanhan or pench, river basin and
Kulbhera river basin, whereas only Sovna nadi basin falls under the Kanhan
watershed in this range. A detailed account of the drainage basin is given in
Table.


Table 5: Bifuration ratio of The Three Basins in The Area

Order Stream B/F=R Stream involved (N) Product (R’N)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1013
212
47
10
2
4.47
4.51
4.70
5.00
1225
259
57
12
5475.75
1168.09
269.90
60.00
6971.74
Mean = 4.74
Weighted mean = 6971.74/1284 = 5.42

ix) Assessment of Water Potential The
recharge potential for Bichhua Development block has been calculated to be 67.20
million cubic meters/year (MCM) and the present animal draft of underground
water is meagre (6.91), which is about 9% of the potential. The rest 91% is
still to be tapped from. This data, it can be said that the area have enough
water potential and there is ample scope to plan deep tubewells for both
irrigation and drinking purposes.

x) Hydro-geological investigations For healthy
growth of a forest, database regarding underground water is essential to plan of
forestation work. The available data has been collected villagewise and a
spatial database has been generated with the help of GIS software PC Arc/Info,
from which any information, be it a village, compartment, block or even coupe,
can be linked and retrieved.

The data was collected by Public Health Engineering
(P.H.E), Bichhua, and the 1991-92 data has been entered in the database. From
the borehole data, the general strata found in this range have 0 to 6 m
overburden (soil horizon), below that up to 50-60 m hardrock (block fractured
basaltic) and below that sandy and clay material. The village-wise database has
information regarding total number of pumps in the village, initial water table
during drilling, present pre-monsoon and post-monsoon water table, peak summer
W.T., drawdown both pre and post-monsoon as well as peak summer condition and
yield (i.e. discharge) in gallons per hour.

In pre-monsoon period, 25 villages
comprising about 40% of the area largely in the north, west and southern parts
have W.T. between 10 and 15 m. There are 19 villages marking four patches have
W.T. in the range 16-20 m. Most of this category (13 out of 19) villages are in
the central part and cover the moderately dissected plateau land which shows
less fracture and weathering. The north-central and west-central part covers 17
villages having W.T. in the range 21-25 m, as the area is more close to the
northern plateau top area and runoff is high because of steep slope, thereby
reducing the recharge by infiltration.

In the post-monsoon period, on an
average, there has been rise of water table by 5 m except in a few villages. Out
of 25 villages having 10-15 m W.T. in pre-monsoon period, only 10 villages shows
rise of water table by 5 m. Ten villages show no change in Water Table position,
it remained in the 10-15 m range.

Map 6 shows data on fluctuations of Water
Table. Overall, the villages show fluctuations ranging from 1 to 7 m. The
western part comprising 17 villages shows fluctuation of 5 mts which is
conspicuous. One village shows a fluctuation of 1m and four village that of 2 m
in the central part. Nine villages are in the 3 m category, sixteen in 4 m range
and 11 in 7 , fluctuation range.

There are three river basins in the region
having a bifurcation ratio value between 4 and 6 indicating that the area is
more or less homogeneous which is very helpful in preparing a working plan for a
forest.

The studies have indicated that a reduction in the densities of forest
over storeys and other vegetative cover types can increase water yield. However,
it is difficult to predict the response of vegetation management on water yield,
as the result obtained in various studies have been of diverse nature and
suggest complexity of the hydrologic factors involved.

The area is largely
covered by Deccan basalt and altered gneissic rocks exposed along the river
valleys which cut through the thick basalt layers. The NW and SW parts of the
range have a thicker alluvium developed by the weathering of basalt as well as
the alluvium brought by the river. The central, northern, and NE are more or
less devoid of soil cover, which acts as a recharge surface by infiltration.

The recharge potential for Bichhua Development Block has been calculated to be 67.20
million cubic meters/year and the present annual draft of underground is meagre
(6.91) about 90% of the potential, the 91% is still to be tapped.

From the
borehole data, the general strata found have 0-6 meters overburden (soil
horizon), below that upto 50-60 meters hardrock (black fractured basaltic rock),
and below that sandy and clay material.

The approach to spatial analysis
involves the evaluation of natural resources in terms of their potential,
limitations, etc. and assessment of felt needs and priorities of the local
people. Mainly map data were used for natural resources analysis and
socio-economic data for need aspect analysis. Since the data sets were available
in different forms, to standardize them, these were reformatted and suitably
converted to a form amenable for data storage in GIS.


Conclusions

Though the
study has been carried out only on a small forest range (Bichhua) for
formulation of a working plan, the process can be used for the whole forest
area. Efforts are needed to be made to establish acceptable compromised
solutions for deciding the amount of forest vegetation to be treated, including
the type of treatment without substantially reducing the yields of the forest
produce. Amenities are available in only 7-8 out of 32 villages. To create an
efficient forest management, adequate amenities need to be provided in a large
number of villages. Strong precautionary measures need to be taken to protect
rapid devastation of the forestland to stop the agents at work. Studies need to
be carried out to evaluate the effects of vegetation management, specifically
partial cutting/thinning and forest conversion on water yield, as the same has a
great potential to increase water supplies for downstream users.