Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (NRSAJ Dehra Dun

Abstract : India, with a forest cover of 20.55% of geographical area, contains a variety of climate zones, from the tropical south, north-western hot deserts to Himalayan cold deserts. Enriched with ample diversity of forests bloomed with a rich array of floral and faunal life forms. With increasing population pressure, the forest cover of the country is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Along with various factors, forest fires are a major cause of degradation of Indian forests. According to a Forest Survey of India report, about 50 per cent of forest areas in the country are prone to fire. It is estimated that the proportion of forest areas prone to forest fires annually ranges from 33% in some states to over 90% in others. While statistical data and geospatial information on forest fire are very weak or even not available. About 90% of the forest fires in India are started by humans. The degree of forest fire risk analysis and frequency of fire incidents are very important factors for taking preventive measures and post fire degradation assessment. Geospatial techniques are proving to be powerful tools to assess the forest fire risk and degradation assessment. The present paper describes the present state of forests, methodology, models and case studies of forest fire risk and degradation assessment in context to Indian forests.

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