Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Earth System Science

Committee Chair

Robert Griffin

Committee Member

Thomas Sever

Committee Member

Burgess Howell


Geographic information systems., Environmental monitoring--Technological innovations., Forest policy--Developing countries., Forest management--India., Forest policy--India., Forests and forestry--Economic aspects--India.


For several decades the amount of forest cover worldwide has followed a declining trend. Recently, developing countries such as India have begun social and political programs to support an opposite trend of forest restoration. The cause of this positive forest transition varies in each nation. This study shows the impact of recent developments in state-local forestry management programs on forest cover in the Western Ghats of India from 2001-2011. Using GIS and remote sensing technology this study analyzes recent patterns in forest extent and health in seven districts within the Western Ghats. Currently there is a serious lack of quantitative information linking environmental policy and land cover change necessary to determine the most effective techniques to conserve natural resources and thus improve the livelihoods of those dependent upon these resources. This study attempts to bridge this gap between science and policy by presenting an analysis of the connection between geospatial data and environmental policy.



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