The Relationship Between Land Use/Land Cover Change and Land Degradation of a Natural Protected Area in Batang Merao Watershed, Indonesia

Rachmad Firdaus, Nobukazu Nakagoshi, Aswandi Idris, and Beni Raharjo

Abstract Land degradation in Batang Merao is regarded as one of the major environmental problems that can affect the sustainability of this natural protected area in Kerinci Seblat National Park. The aim of this study was to determine the linkages between land use/land cover (LULC) changes and land degradation using multitemporal Landsat data from 1990, 2000, and 2010. Based on a maximum- likelihood algorithm of the supervised classification method, images were classified into six classes: forest, mixed plantation, tea plantation, shrub/bush, agricultural land, and settlement. The results showed that during the past two decades, two major changes took place. Forest decreased at rates of 330.85 ha year-1 (period of 1990-2000) and 145.25 ha year-1 (period of 2000-2010); on the other hand, agricultural land, mixed plantation, and settlement have shown increments. Concerning land degradation, Batang Merao Watershed exhibited potential soil degradation where the mean annual potential land degradation was 128.03 tons ha-1 year-1 in 1990, 144.68 tons ha-1 year-1 in 2000, and 194.14 tons ha-1 year-1 in 2010. Based on statistical analysis (Pearson’s correla­tion coefficient), this study reveals a relationship between LULC change and land degradation in that land cover type plays an important role in protecting soil from

R. Firdaus (*)

Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University,

1-5-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8529, Japan

Regional Development Planning Board of Jambi Province (Bappeda), Jl RM Nur Atmadibrata No. 1 Telanaipura, Jambi 36124, Indonesia e-mail: r. firdaus2010@gmail. com

N. Nakagoshi • B. Raharjo

Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University,

1-5-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8529, Japan

A. Idris

Fakultas Pertanian-PPMDAS, Jambi University, Jl. Raya Jambi-Muara Bulian KM 15, Mendalo Darat, Jambi 36123, Indonesia

N. Nakagoshi and J. A. Mabuhay (eds.), Designing Low Carbon Societies in Landscapes, Ecological Research Monographs, DOI 10.1007/978-4-431-54819-5_14, © Springer Japan 2014

land degradation in this watershed. Therefore, areas in an extremely high level of land degradation should be recommended as important for a conservation program.

Keywords Conservation • Environmental • Land cover • Land use • Protected area • Sustainability

14.1 Introduction

Studying land use/land cover (LULC) change is a critical requirement for the assessment of potential environmental impacts and the development of effective land management and planning strategies (Leh et al. 2013). Knowledge of the nature of LULC change and its configuration across spatial and temporal scales is consequently indispensable for sustainable environmental management and devel­opment (Turner et al. 1995). LULC is always dynamic when it constantly changes in response to the dynamic interaction between underlying drivers and proximate causes (Lambin et al. 2003). Change in LULC is a key driver of environmental changes (Lambin et al. 2003) on all spatial and temporal scales (Turner et al. 1994), and it can be a major threat to biodiversity (Verburg et al. 1999). Monitoring LULC change in the landscape of a watershed is becoming an important issue across various fields of development and sustainable management. Landscape changes include not only damage by agriculture, but also degradation of historic values and land conservation functions (Ohta and Nakagoshi 2011).

During the past few decades, LULC change and its impacts have become major problems and serious threats to environmental conditions. Many watersheds today suffer from several detrimental problems such as severe soil erosion, flood, drought, and declining land productivity or land degradation. Land degradation, a synonym for soil degradation (Kertesz 2009) that implies soil functions have been damaged by climate or human activities (Maitima et al. 2004), is a critical environmental problem in many countries (Ouyang et al. 2010), especially in developing countries (Ananda and Herath 2003). About 85 % of land degradation in the world is associated with soil erosion (Oldeman et al. 1991), such as in the Citarik, West Java, about 94-103 tons ha-1 year-1 (Kusumandari and Mitchell 1997). Further­more, land degradation has major implications for society in economic, social, and environmental perspectives.

Information on LULC dynamics and its impacts is very important for landscape management because it creates key environmental information for many resource management and policy purposes. Therefore, it is very useful for planners and policy makers to initiate remedial analysis on LULC change and land degradation. Furthermore, to strengthen the conservation and protection of the ecological envi­ronment, comprehensive planning is necessary with considerations that include balancing the social, safety, ecology, and landscape values and treating the whole watershed as a management unit (Wu and Feng 2006).

Batang Merao Watershed was selected for this research because it is the most important watershed around Kerinci Seblat National Park (KNSP), the biggest natural protected area in Sumatera. Batang Merao Watershed has a prominent role as a buffer zone for KNSP. Land degradation in Batang Merao Watershed will affect the sustainability of the conservation function of KNSP and downstream areas such as Sungai Penuh City and Merangin Regency. The purpose of this study was to analyze LULC changes, land degradation, and the relationship between them in three different years (1990, 2000, and 2010).