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Review Article Open Access

Forest Cover Dynamics in South East Asia Evidenced from MODIS Data


Land cover data sets are essentially spatial representation of our earth’s surface, categorised into units like forests, grasslands etc. The availability of satellite platform based land cover classification products have largely advantaged mapping of changes in land cover revealing patterns and trends. Such studies are gaining importance in environmental risk assessment studies. Forest area is depleting fast giving way to expansion of agriculture and commercial plantations in South East Asia. In this study we attempt to map the dynamics of land cover between 2001 and 2012 in South East Asia using the Global Land Cover data product of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) platform using statistical and spatial methods. We found evidences of large scale forest conversion but the overall sum of changes was insignificant for the region in general. The suitability of MODIS against other platforms like Landsat for land cover change assessment and the opportunities for multivariate analysis is also discussed.

Sandeep N Kundu

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