Study of habitat quality assessment using geospatial techniques in Keoladeo National Park, India.
Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems on the Earth. They are generally considered a transitional state between terrestrial-aquatic habitats and provide numerous vital ecosystem services to mankind. Wetlands are under a tremendous pressure due to growing human interference, urbanization, conventional agriculture, industrial expansions, and overexploitation of ecological services. The Keoladeo National Park (KNP) is a manmade wetland, world heritage site and a designated Ramsar site in India, widely known for its avian biodiversity. Due to insufficient amount of water supply and widespread invasion of Prosopis juliflora, notable spatio-temporal changes are observed in the land cover affecting habitat quality of the park. The present study is designed to highlight the importance of very high-resolution satellite data for characterization of the wetland ecosystem. It assesses the spatio-temporal dynamics of land use/land cover (LULC) and habitat quality, a model built in the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) tool, is utilized to analyze the effect of land cover changes and increase in P. juliflora on habitat quality in the park. The study concludes that drastic changes in LULC and rampant spread of P. juliflora have deteriorated the quality of habitat for bird species. Furthermore, it highlights importance of geospatial tools in mapping, monitoring, and managing wetland ecosystems.