Understanding land use and land cover changes has become a necessity in managing and monitoring natural resources and development especially urban planning. Remote sensing and geographical information systems are proven tools for assessing land use and land cover changes that help planners to advance sustainability. Our study used remote sensing and geographical information system to detect and predict land use and land cover changes in one of the world's most vulnerable and rapidly growing city of Kathmandu in Nepal. We found that over a period of 20 years (from 1990 to 2010), the Kathmandu district has lost 9.28% of its forests, 9.80% of its agricultural land and 77% of its water bodies. Significant amounts of these losses have been absorbed by the expanding urbanized areas, which has gained 52.47% of land. Predictions of land use and land cover change trends for 2030 show worsening trends with forest, agriculture and water bodies to decrease by an additional 14.43%, 16.67% and 25.83%, respectively. The highest gain in 2030 is predicted for urbanized areas at 18.55%. Rapid urbanization-coupled with lack of proper planning and high rural-urban migration-is the key driver of these changes. These changes are associated with loss of ecosystem services which will negatively impact human wellbeing in the city. We recommend city planners to mainstream ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation into urban plans supported by strong policy and funds.
- Land use and land cover
- Remote sensing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law