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Geoecological integrity index for assessment and prioritisation of watersheds in the Indian northwestern Himalayan region using geoinformatics

Authors
  • Kumar, Amit1
  • Kumar, Sunil1, 2
  • Deshmukh, Benidhar3
  • 1 CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India , Palampur (India)
  • 2 Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India , Ghaziabad (India)
  • 3 Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India , New Delhi (India)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Earth System Science
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 05, 2021
Volume
130
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12040-020-01537-3
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

AbstractBiotic, abiotic and anthropogenic factors are considered in isolation for prioritisation of watersheds. Instead, it requires a multidisciplinary geoecolocical approach. The geoecology based prioritisation provides opportunities to assess the region by evaluating these multiple factors in combination. Thus, Geoecological Integrity Index (GII) was developed for prioritisation of Baner River watersheds of Indian northwestern Himalayan region by integrating biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic factors as the region is facing geological and ecological instability. Forest cover density and net primary productivity were used as biotic factors and drainage morphometry, soil erosion, and patches were used as abiotic factors. Population density of the watershed was considered as an anthropogenic factor. Weighed overlay analysis was carried out to understand the influence of each of these factors on watershed prioritisation. These factors were integrated to arrive at cumulative weights (GII) for micro-watersheds. With the help of GII, out of 110 micro-watersheds, 11 were prioritised as very high actionable, 32 as high actionable, 52 as moderately actionable and 15 as of minimal action, requiring suitable actions in a prioritised manner to conserve and manage. The study presents an approach for geoecological assessment of watersheds that can be replicated in watersheds of other Himalayan regions or areas having similar geoecological conditions.Research highlightsGeoecological Integrity Index (GII) was developed for prioritisation of watersheds in Indian north-western Himalaya.GII was developed considering biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic factors, which are generally treated in isolation.Geoecological factors were integrated to arrive at cumulative weights (GII) for micro-watersheds.Out of 110 micro-watersheds, 11 were prioritised as very high actionable, 32 as high actionable, 52 as moderately actionable and 15 as of minimal action, requiring suitable actions for its conservation and management.Study provided an approach for geoecological assessment of watersheds that can be replicated in any other watersheds having similar conditions.

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