Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | 2019
Effects of population, land cover change, and climatic variability on wetland resource degradation in a Ramsar listed Ghodaghodi Lake Complex, Nepal
Wetlands support livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries. However, wetland land cover change, as a result of growing population and subsequent anthropogenic activities, has been evident at a global scale, and ongoing micro-climate alteration has further deteriorating its ecological condition. Nepal is equally vulnerable to wetland changes that can have direct effects on the sustenance of local wetland-dependent people. This study thus attempts to look at how wetland areas of Nepal are undergoing changes, taking a case of Ghodaghodi Lake Complex (GLC). Remote sensing technique, climate, and population data were used in the analysis aided by focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Results showed that total population of the study area has been increased drastically in recent decades. Landsat image analysis for 25 years (1989–2016) depicts changes in the GLC in its land cover, with maximum expansion observed in settlement followed by river and banks, whereas maximum reduction was observed in forests, followed by areas of agricultural land and lake. Similarly, diurnal temperature is increasing while total annual rainfall is slightly decreasing during the same period. Locals have perceived ecological degradation in the GLC due to both anthropogenic pressure and climatic variability. The study outlines linkage of drivers for GLC degradation and finally makes recommendations to achieve longer term sustainability of the lake complex.