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Community-based groundwater and ecosystem restoration in semi-arid north Rajasthan (3): Evidence from remote sensing

Davies, Thomas; Horswell, Michael; Everard, Mark


Thomas Davies

Mark Everard
Associate Professor in Ecosystem Services


Community-based measures recharging groundwater in semi-arid India has historically underpinned rural socio-ecological resilience, though are declining through technological, policy and other changes. Nevertheless, exemplars of community action are achieving catchment regeneration, including in Alwar District (Rajasthan) since the mid-1980s. This study analysed satellite remote sensing (RS) data to detect trends in groundwater and linked ecosystem services. Data from Landsat satellite missions offered a long time series and free access, though data gaps in the LandSat archive prior to 1997 limited time series analysis. ISODATA (Iterative Self Organising Data Analysis Technique) was used to analyse land cover trends, detecting increasing vegetation cover but not river rejuvenation due to limited spatial and spectral resolution. Analyses of NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) and MSI (Moisture Stress Index) were used to assess change in vegetation cover, vigour and moisture stress over time. Analytical outputs were equivocal, although inter-annual fluctuations were observed to follow antecedent rainfall as vegetation responded to rising soil moisture and groundwater. Despite these equivocal conclusions, the research strongly suggests that analysis of RS data with improved resolution can provide surrogate indicators of change in groundwater and associated ecosystem services, supporting formulation of flexible policies incorporating local action to regenerate socio-ecological systems.


Davies, T., Horswell, M., & Everard, M. (2016). Community-based groundwater and ecosystem restoration in semi-arid north Rajasthan (3): Evidence from remote sensing. Ecosystem Services, 21(A), 20-30.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 6, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 28, 2016
Publication Date Oct 1, 2016
Journal Ecosystem Services
Print ISSN 2212-0416
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue A
Pages 20-30
Keywords ecosystem services, community-based management, water, regeneration, cultural, aquatic ecosystems, remote sensing
Public URL
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