T. V. Ramachandra *, Senior Member, IEEE, Anindita Dasgupta, Uttam Kumar, Student Member, IEEE,
Bharath H Aithal, Student Member, IEEE, P. G. Diwakar and N. V. Joshi


Natural hazards such as landslides are triggered by numerous factors such as ground movements, rock falls, slope failure, debris flows, slope instability, etc. Changes in slope stability happen due to human intervention, anthropogenic activities, change in soil structure, loss or absence of vegetation (changes in land cover), etc. Loss of vegetation happens when the forest is fragmented due to anthropogenic activities. Hence land cover mapping with forest fragmentation can provide vital information for visualising the regions that require immediate attention from slope stability aspects. The main objective of this paper is to understand the rate of change in forest landscape from 1973 to 2004 through multi-sensor remote sensing data analysis. The forest fragmentation index presented here is based on temporal land use information and forest fragmentation model, in which the forest pixels are classified as patch, transitional, edge, perforated, and interior, that give a measure of forest continuity. The analysis carried out for five prominent watersheds of Uttara Kannada district– Aganashini, Bedthi, Kali, Sharavathi and Venkatpura revealed that interior forest is continuously decreasing while patch, transitional, edge and perforated forest show increasing trend. The effect of forest fragmentation on landslide occurrence was visualised by overlaying the landslide occurrence points on classified image and forest fragmentation map. The increasing patch and transitional forest on hill slopes are the areas prone to landslides, evident from the field verification, indicating that deforestation is a major triggering factor for landslides. This emphasises the need for immediate conservation measures for sustainable management of the landscape. Quantifying and describing land use - land cover change and fragmentation is crucial for assessing the effect of land management policies and environmental protection decisions.

Index Terms — Forest fragmentation, landslide, SVM, MLC

Citation: T. V. Ramachandra, Anindita Dasgupta, Uttam Kumar, Bharath H Aithal, P. G. Diwakar and N. V. Joshi, 2010, Spatio-temporal landscape modelling for natural hazard vulnerability analysis in select watersheds of Central Western Ghats. ISTC/BES/TVR/205 (2007-2010), pp. 192 - 202.

* T. V. Ramachandra is with the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Centre for Sustainable Technologies and Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.
(*Corresponding author phone: 91-80-23600985/22932506/22933099; fax: 91-80-23601428/23600085;

Anindita Dasgupta is with the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. 
(e-mail: anindita_dasgupta@ces.iisc.

Uttam Kumar is with the Department of Management Studies and Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.  (e-mail:

Bharath H Aithal is with the Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.
(e mail:

P. G. Diwakar is with the RRSSC, Indian Space Research Organization, Department of Space, Government of India, Banashanakari, Bangalore 70. (e-mail:

N. V. Joshi is with the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
(e-mail: )

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