India: In a study involving satellite imageries done by ISRO has concluded that nearly 30% of the total land of India is under the threat of land degradation. A study that analysed satellite imageries over an eight-year period said, nearly 30% of the country’s total geographical area is undergoing degradation.
ISRO’s Space Applications Centre released the findings last month in the form of a ‘Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas’, combining GIS and remote sensing data. The degrading area has increased over 0.5 per cent to 29.3 million hectares during the period, as shown by comparative remote-sensing satellite imageries of the States for the periods 2003-05 and 2011-13.
Desertification increased by 1.16 million hectares (m ha) and stood at 82.64 m ha during 2011-13. There was high desertification and degradation in Delhi, Tripura, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram, while Odisha, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh showed some improvement.
India has committed itself to the U.N. Convention on Combating Desertification that it would fully stop land degradation by 2030. The atlas, adding 68 vulnerable districts, would form part of the country’s action plan to arrest the phenomenon and also be a status report to the U.N. body, ISRO said. The SAC had undertaken a similar study in 2007.
The bad news is that 3.6 million hectares of productive land are getting lost, while on the positive side, some land has been reclaimed and the intensity of degradation has been slowed down in a few other areas.