Indexed on: 21 Mar '16Published on: 21 Mar '16Published in: Environmental Geology
Deforestation in Thailand is mainly caused by human activities. Because the remaining wildlife sanctuaries are surrounded by community areas, they are sensitive to changes, including the expansion of deforestation for agriculture and settlement-related land uses. This is the case at the study site in the Huai Thap Salao watershed (HTSW) in Changwat Uthaithani, Thailand. A geographic information system (GIS), remote sensing and the CLUE-s model were used to gather and analyze the spatial patterns of land use changes and to predict future land use patterns more quickly and efficiently. Changes in the detected land use in HTSW during the 1988–2007 period revealed that the total forest land decreased by 41.2 km2 (7.36 % of the forested area in 1988), whereas agricultural land increased by 21.1 km2 (10.5 %) over this time period, followed by water bodies (13.61 km2; 491 %) and urban/built-up land (6.45 km2; 195 %). The CLUE-s model was used to simulate the past land use patterns and to predict future land use patterns over the next two decades (until 2027) with and without any designated conservation (wildlife reserve) area. Without any spatial policy and/or restrictions, the predicted trend was an increased amount of forest land being converted into new areas of agricultural and urban/built-up land in the middle of the watershed area and an expansion of agricultural and urban/built-up land into parts of the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.