SBL Undertakes A Temporal Study On Wetlands

SBL Undertakes A Temporal Study On Wetlands

SBL has ventured into a new temporal study, this time, in the coastal region of Kerala. Satellite imageries are being analyzed over the last four decades to find the decadal variations in the land use of Kole lands of Malappuram and Trissur Districts in the state of Kerala, India.

The Kole lands of Kerala are one of the largest and highly productive wetlands and are also the most threatened one. The word “Kole” refers to a peculiar type of paddy cultivation carried out during December to May, every year, and the word in local language indicates ‘bumper yield’. These wetlands are low lying tracts situated at 0.5 to 1 m below the MSL and remain submerged for more than 6 months in a year. This Vembanad Kole wetland is a part of the Ramsar site, as declared in the year 2002.

Reclamation and changes in land use pattern are the most serious problems in the Kole lands. Nowadays, the Kole lands are being converted to coconut, areca nut, banana and other cash crop plantations at an alarming rate, thus forming a threat to a variety of migratory birds that use this unique ecosystem as their seasonal abode. Peculiar species of flora and fauna demarcate the importance of these wetlands.

Wetlands are ranked third among the most productive ecosystems and are valuable source sinks and transformers of a multitude of chemical, biological and genetic materials. These ecosystems are considered as the “Kidneys of the earth” for their natural cleaning mechanisms through biogeochemical cycles. In short, these ecosystems have been reported to prevent floods, trap sediments, sink nutrients, source water, recharge ground water, protect shoreline, abate pollution, regulate biogeochemical cycles, and enrich the biodiversity.

For this study, existing topomaps, cadastres and other administrative maps have been georeferenced and vectorised to supplement the imagery data. Land use classification has been carried out after extensive ground truth verification. Based on the change pattern, modeling will be carried out to predict the land use for ten years later.

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