Desertification and land degradation atlas of India

More than a quarter of the total geographic area (TGA)-96.4 million hectares (mha) or 29.32%-in India is undergoing degradation as per this Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas, released in June by ISRO Space Applications Centre (SAC). 

Desertification and land degradation are major threats to agricultural productivity in our country. Combating desertification and land degradation is one of the thrust areas identified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India, New Delhi. Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO, Ahmedabad along with 19 concerned partner institutes has carried out an inventory and monitoring of desertification of the entire country using Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) data in Geographical Information System (GIS) environment.

The maps and salient findings compiled in the form of an Atlas was released on the occasion of “World Day to Combat Desertification”, on June 17, 2016 jointly organized by MoEF&CC, and Arid Zone Forest Research Institute (AFRI) at Jodhpur, Rajasthan. This Atlas presents state-wise desertification and land degradation status maps depicting land use, process of degradation and severity level. This was prepared using IRS Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) data of 2011-13 and 2003-05 time frames in GIS environment. Area under desertification / land degradation for the both time frames and changes are reported state-wise as well as for the entire country. The outputs are helpful in prioritizing areas to be taken up for minimizing the impact of desertification and land degradation.

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