Updated Date: 5/19/2021 1:36:40 PM
Land cover change is a significant contributor to environmental change. The degradation of forests and conversion of natural areas, forests, and farmlands to other land use impact ecosystem services and biodiversity significantly. Using multiple methodologies and input data sources, national agencies in different countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region have conducted land cover mapping at various times. Due to the differences in classification schema, methodologies, and input data sources used, currently available land cover data is not suitable for analysis of land cover changes over time. ICIMOD and its partners in the HKH region have developed the Regional Land Cover Monitoring System (RLCMS) to operationalize the generation of land cover maps using a harmonized classification system on a near-annual basis. The RLCMS is implemented in the cloud-based Google Earth Engine platform and uses publicly available satellite imagery in combination with other thematic layers. In developing the RLCMS, ICIMOD focused on collaboration and co-development with partner organizations to define different land cover typologies/classes, collect reference data samples, and validate results. Land cover maps for the HKH region spanning 2000–2018 have been produced under its SERVIR–HKH Initiative.