The article written by Eshwer Kale and Marcella D’Souza was published in the compendium ‘Water Conservation and Saving in Agriculture: Initiatives, Achievements and Challenges in Maharashtra’ by Water Resources Department (WRD) Government of Maharashtra.
The study examines long-term land use/land cover change (LUCC) at a finer scale in a semi-arid region of India. The objectives were to study and quantify the spatiotemporal LUCC and uncover the major drivers causing the change in the Mula Pravara river basin, which is located in a semi-arid region of Maharashtra state, India. From 1991 to 2016, the agricultural land area increased by approximately 98% due to the conversion of uncultivable and fallow lands to agriculture. The built-up area increased by 195%, and in recent years, an urban expansion has occurred in agricultural lands close to the urban fringe areas. There has been a shift from food crops to commercial crops, as observed from the steep increase in the amount of land under horticultural plantations, by 1601% from 2001 to 2016. This study demonstrates the advantages of using satellite remote sensing techniques to monitor the LUCC, which is useful for predicting future land changes and aids in planning adaptation strategies.