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Forest Landscape Characterization for Biodiversity Conservation Planning and Management Gaps in Northwestern Himalaya Using Geospatial Technology

  • Sarnam Singh
Chapter

Abstract

Himalaya is one of the four biodiversity hotspots in India with high level of endemism. The Himalayan arc, commonly referred to as ‘Water Tower’, spreads from east of Afghanistan (Hindu Kush Region) to west of Myanmar through Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and China and is broadly divided into Hindu Kush, Western, Central and Eastern regions representing nine of ten world’s highest and youngest mountains. The sudden rise in height and its terrain complexity make Himalaya environmentally, climatically, ecologically, physically, physiographically as well as biologically unique fostering myriads of life forms, niches and habitats with host of microclimatic conditions across 2500 km and up to 400 km in length and breadth, respectively. The Himalaya supports a great variety of forest ecosystems and other life forms, which vary ecologically, phytosociologically, architecturally, physiognomically, functionally, etc. from east to west and from low to high elevations. For millions of years, these forests have traditionally played a vital role in conserving the environment and have provided the much-needed long-term ecological security to the Indian subcontinent. The forest ecosystems are highly significant to protect wildlife, soil development, erosion and conservation to sustain the livelihood of mankind, to stabilize climate, to optimize water yield and to purify water (Singh and Singh 1992). Northwestern Himalaya (NW Himalaya) is the western part of the Himalayan arc. It is the farthest from sea and latitudinally much higher than the rest of the Himalaya spreading NW to SE directions and has very diverse phytoclimatic patterns quite dissimilar to the areas lying eastwards. Being a part of the youngest mountain ranges of the world, these are very fragile ecosystems due to physiographic, edaphic and climatic conditions. Shivalik ranges, frontal Himalaya, the youngest hill range in the world, are one of the biodiversity micro-endemic centres in India. Present communication also includes frontal Himalaya (Shivalik ranges) and Trans-Himalayan regions, ecosystems, biodiversity and their conservation issues.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The state-wise information provided here is based on the reports of the project on ‘Biodiversity Characterization at Landscape level using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information’ carried out jointly by the Department of Space and Department of Biotechnology; and all the teams and contributors are gratefully acknowledged.

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarnam Singh
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Forestry and Ecology Department, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)Department of Space, Government of IndiaDehradunIndia
  2. 2.School of Ecology and Environment StudiesNalanda University, RajgirNalandaIndia

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