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The receding glaciers, shrinking cover of natural forests, the rapid loss of biodiversity, the falling ground water levels, inter annual variation in rainfall, rising temperature, falling agricultural productivity, point to the destructing health of the ecosystems, not well known in the past. The Mangroves ecosystem on the Kakinada coast is not out of bounds for the same and experienced high rates of deforestation over period of time. Mangroves are a group of salt tolerant plant species, which occur in the tropical and subtropical initial estuary regions. Mangroves constitute a dynamic ecosystem with a complex association of both floral and faunal species of terrestrial and aquatic systems and the vegetation in this forest is of evergreen type. Mangrove forests, types of coastal ecosystems in tropical zone, play an important role not only for material of biogeochemical cycle but also for human demand and economic activities including aquaculture, fishing as well as improving local living standard. They perform many protective, productive and economic functions. Mangrove forests near estuarine areas act as a barrier against cyclones and mitigate their effects. They prevent storm water from entering the mainland and prevent soil erosion along the coastal areas. Mangrove wetlands serve as spawning and nursery grounds for many economically important estuarine/marine fishes and shellfishes; their impact on ecology is equally significant: they harbour many resident and migratory birds. Though the mangrove ecosystem is highly productive and has multiple uses, mangroves suffered serious neglect till very recently. They are undergoing widespread degradation due to a combination of physical, biological, anthropogenic and social factors. Human-induced stresses and factors - such as unscientific management practices, changes in water quality, soil salinity, diversion of fresh water upstream, and conversion of mangrove wetlands for aquaculture, salt pans and other land use practices - have reduced mangrove vegetation. Mangrove wetlands have also been degraded by indiscriminate destruction of mangrove resources and clear-felling of mangrove forest. Mangroves. It is being envisaged judicious and realistic land cover and land use change data in conservation planning, accurate and efficient techniques to detect mangroves ecosystem change from multi-temporal satellite imagery are desired for conservation optimally. In view of this scenario, a study was taken up in Kakinada coast, primarily to study changes in mangrove ecosystem, vegetation type, density and extent, analyze the extent of deforestation, identify the changes in density of vegetation and to understand the temporal changes. The study assessed the impact of various measures taken up to prevent, principally between 1996 to 2010. After geometric and atmospheric corrections, the satellite imageries were subsetted and subjected to hybrid classification in to 100 classes, grouped in to ten classes for calculating the aerial extent. NDVI was used to identify the changes in density of vegetation and the change matrix identified the variations in the land cover over period of time. DGPS was used for marking critical locations The mangrove distribution was made from investigation in situ or analyzing from remotely sensing images and GIS techniques. Monitoring the locations and distributions of Mangroves changes is important for establishing links between policy decisions, regulatory actions and subsequent land use activities. Planning plays a key role in the management of making best use of limited resources. Integrated use of GIS, Remote Sensing and Image processing technologies enable us to cope with the objectives of change detection.
Rosane Cavalcante Fragoso, Brasil
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of a Research Group
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