Landcover dynamics in relation to western tragopan occurrence in Pakistan: A regional assessment

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In order to establish relationship between landcover dynamics, human demography and western tragopan abundance in Pakistan, a regional scale landcover map consisting of categories Glaciers, Pastures, Conifers, Broadleaves, Shrubs and Built-up/agriculture classes was prepared using ISODATA clustering of MODIS 16-day composite images (MOD13Q1) for year 2011. Subsequently, time series-analysis of ten years' MOD13Q1 data (Feb. 2000 - Feb. 2011) was performed using STL procedure to infer landcover dynamics (progressive, stable and regressive trends). From these data, various landcover metrics and ratios were calculated to compare sub-regions using principal component analysis (PCA). Pearson correlation was then calculated among PCA scores, human population and tragopan abundance to provide a multi-criteria habitat evaluation. The tragopan reported sites were found to have minimum landcover disturbance i.e., both regressive and progressive landcover locations seem to negatively affect the tragopan abundance. The progressive trends are mainly attributed to the human influence and were recorded mainly for the Built-up/agriculture landcover types. Most of the regressive trends were observed in high coniferous landcover that form the core habitat of the western tragopan and also seem to be mainly anthropogenic. Thus the human population had both positive and negative impact on the landcover that in general was found prohibitive for the occurrence of western tragopan. The Palas valley being well preserved from the landcover disturbances (both negative and positive) and having sparse human population does qualify for a very important conservation area particularly in context of holding world's largest population of western tragopan.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPakistan Journal of Botany
Issue numberS 1 (Special Issue)
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2013