LANDSCAPE VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT USING REMOTE SENSING AND GIS TOOLS IN THE INDIAN PART OF KAILASH SACRED LANDSCAPE
The Indian part of Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) is prone to flash floods, landslides and forest fires leading to various environmental and socio-economic problems. This study aims to identify areas vulnerable to these disasters by preparing hazard maps to curtail their impact on the overall landscape. The Indian part of KSL covering seven forest ranges in Pithoragarh district which is spread over an area of 7,212 km 2. This paper integrated the Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing and the multi criteria analysis through AHP to determine the disaster vulnerable areas in the landscape. All the thematic layers and final maps are prepared in ArcGIS 10.2. A total of ten variables for a landslide, six variables for flood and seven variables (topographic, climatic, and anthropogenic) were used to carry out the pairwise comparison for relatively weighting the variables through AHP. Consistency ratio (CR = 0.01) for landslide and forest fire and for flood (CR = 0.06) which shows the matrix was consistent. We identified 174 km 2 of the area which is highly fired prone to forest fire, 76 km 2 of area vulnerable to landslide and 24 km 2 of the area comes under hotspot of the flood. The sites vulnerable to key drivers identified and mapped through this study will form the basis for further conservation and development planning at landscape level by policy makers.