T.V. Ramachandraa,b,c*,  Bharath Setturua,d,   Rajan K Sd,    Subash Chandran M. Da   
aEnergy & Wetlands Research Group, Center for Ecological Sciences [CES],
bCentre for Sustainable Technologies (astra),
c Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning [CiSTUP],
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560 012, India
dLab of Spatial Informatics, IIIT-H, Hyderabad, India.
*Corresponding Author:


The Western Ghats forms an important watershed for the entire peninsular India, being the source of 37 west flowing rivers and three major east flowing rivers and their numerous tributaries. However, deforestation due to large scale land cover changes has affected the water sustenance in the region evident from the quantity and duration of water availability during post monsoon period. Land use Land cover (LULC) changes accelerated by unplanned anthropogenic activities have been the prime mover of global warming and consequent changes in the climate. This necessitates appropriate resource management with an understanding of drivers. Geo-visualization of landscape transitions considering the influential agents will aid in formulating strategies to mitigate global warming. Uttara Kannada district in the Central Western Ghats has the distinction of having highest forest cover in the country and this region is now experiencing rapid forest cover changes. Factors inducing changes in the land cover are normalized through fuzzyfication, considered for Multi criteria Evaluation (MCE) using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) under high protection and low protection scenarios. Likely land use transitions by 2022 across zones based on transitions during 2004-2007, 2007–2010, 2010–2013 was done through cellular automata (CA) and Markov chain process (MC). The analyses highlight the loss of forest cover by 66.55 to 56.76 % by 2022 in the coastal zone with escalating population density. Similar situation of 65.98 to 55.62 % decline in Sahyadri region is noticed with execution of dams, hydroelectric projects and monoculture plantations. Lower transitions as compared with the second scenario highlights regulatory framework’s role in protection. However, forests in plain region show loss of 27.38 to 11.09 % in both scenarios due to population pressure and market induced land cover changes. This necessitates policy interventions by the federal government to mitigate forest loss towards sustainable development.

Keywords Fuzzy-AHP-CA – Geo-visualization – LULC – Central Western Ghats – CA-Markov



Citation : T V Ramachandra, Bharath Setturua, Rajan K S and Subash Chandran M D, 2017. Modelling the Forest Transition in Central Western Whats, India. Spat. Inf. Res. (2017)25: 117–130, DOI 10.1007/s41324-017-0084-8.
* Corresponding Author :
Dr. T.V. Ramachandra
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, India.
Tel : +91-80-2293 3099/2293 3503 [extn - 107],      Fax : 91-80-23601428 / 23600085 / 23600683 [CES-TVR]
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