Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 296–306 | Cite as

Shrinking greenery: Land use and land cover changes in Kurram Agency, Kohi Safid Mountains of north-western Pakistan



Deforestation and other Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) changes, driven by variety of physical and anthropogenic factors, have altered the mountainous environment. Mountains around the world including northern and north western belts of Pakistan are highly sensitive to deforestation and other LULC changes, which have profound impacts on various sectors of bio-physical and socio-economic systems. Assessment of LULC changes has high significance for protection, conservation and monitoring mountainous environment. The present study is an attempt to assess the landscape changes with particular reference to forest cover depletion in Kurram Agency located in the north western mountain belt of Pakistan. For detailed comparative analysis the study area has been divided into three sections, which coincide with the present administrative divisions of the Agency, i.e., Upper, Lower and Central Kurram. Temporal span of this study covers four decades. In this study, land use map of 1970 and land sat satellite imageries of 1987, 2000 and 2014 were used as spatial data sets. The images were processed and classified into six LULC classes through geospatial packages and change detection maps were prepared for each division and time period. Findings of the study reveal two trends in the four major LULC categories. Forest and rangeland have shrunk, on average, by 15% and 7.5% respectively while, bare soil and rocks outcrops have expanded by 89% and agriculture land by 7.2% in Kurram agency. The water bodies and snow cover have minor fluctuation in its land area. Major causes of shrinking greenery is attributed to high influx of Afghan refugees and high energy demand of growing population. However, with outflow of the refugees from Kurram agency the general trend in forest cover has reverted and deforestation rate has slowed down.


Pakistan Tribal areas Deforestation Land Use Land Cover Change Resource management Global changes 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of PeshawarPeshawarPakistan
  2. 2.Department of GeographyGovernment College University FaisalabadFaisalabadPakistan

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