Regional Sustainability


Landscape conversion becomes a continuous process in a natural landscape for any strategic development. In a forest landscape mosaic, the conversion from non-forest land to forest land implies a constructive approach. Various bio-geographic processes are enriched and developed when the land was converted to forest land in a given landscape matrix. The present study evaluated how the increased forest cover improves the ecological quality of forest in Jhargram District of West Bengal State, India, from 1985 to 2015. The quality of forests includes dominance, fragmentation and connectivity, which are the basis ecological indicators of habitat structure. To address this issue, we extracted forest cover maps of 1985 and 2015 from land use/land cover classification. A grid framework was overlaid on these forest cover maps for patch-matrix model analysis. Reliable landscape ecological indices were used for the measurements of forest landscape quality in 1985 and 2015. Then a simple linear regression model was used to compare the results. Temporally, forest cover increased in Jhargram District from 1985 to 2015. The comparison of measurement indices depicts that although only a small amount of land was changed into forest land in the study area, this small change has greatly improved the structural compositional quality of the forest land. Compared with 1985, the forest land area increased by about 6930.56 hm2 in 2015. This increased forest cover improved the basic landscape ecological characters, such as inter patch connectivity, forest core area, forest habitat dependence, forest habitat dominance and forest edge effect. As a result, the ecosystem function in Jhargram District has been improved, which again attracts wildlife and enriches biodiversity.

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