International Journal of Environment
(ISSN: 2186-6872 (print). 2186-0009 (online))

Monitoring Natural Sal Forest Cover in Modhupur, Bangladesh using Temporal Landsat Imagery during 1972 - 2015
Hasan Muhammad Abdullah, M. Golam Mahboob, Md. Mezanur Rahman, and Tofayel Ahmed
Modhupur Sal (Shorea robusta) forest, the largest natural Sal forest area of Bangladesh, is a threatened ecological resource situated in the central part of the country. This unique natural forest belongs to the tropical moist deciduous forest and happens to be rich in biodiversity. Unfortunately, this forest is heavily impacted by human activities. Current study investigated and quantified the destruction in areal extent of natural Sal forest using Landsat satellite data of 1972, 1989, 2010 and 2015. A hybrid image classification technique was applied. Post-classification change analysis method was used to quantify the natural Sal forest coverage to know the loss of forest cover. The result showed that the extent of original natural Sal forest was depleted by 75, 64 and 31% in the year of 2015, 2010 and 1989 respectively compared to that of 1972. Land use/cover of the study area was also presented which enumerated that the main driver of natural forest loss was human activities like settlement, commercial plantation, agriculture and agroforestry practices. The mass destruction of natural Sal forest was revealed by this study. Therefore, adequate measures are needed to take protection and regeneration of natural Sal forest in Modhupur for environmental sustainability and forest area conservation. The study successfully usages the Landsat Multi Spectral Scanner (MSS), Thematic Mapper (TM) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) data to monitor the forest cover changes which could be used for low cost but effective monitoring of forests resources in Bangladesh and other parts of the globe.
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