Agri Business

Rubber Research body uses satellite derived maps to delineate rubber plantations

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on July 21, 2021

The landslide zones were analysed geo-spatially with satellite-derived rubber plantation maps

The Rubber Research Institute of India has successfully delineated rubber plantations into low, medium and high landslide risk categories using satellite-derived maps of the distribution of rubber plantations and the district-wise landslide susceptibility zones developed by the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority.

These landslide susceptible zones were prepared by integrating multiple databases like topographical maps, remote sensing data, ground truth and geo-technical investigations. The landslide zones were analysed geo-spatially with satellite-derived rubber plantation maps.

“We can recommend growers to adopt good agricultural practices at a location according to its vulnerability to landslides as well as cultural operations that should not be undertaken to minimise the impact of landslides”, the officials said.

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Kerala is characterised by hilly and undulating terrains with tropical monsoon climate. Triggered by heavy rainfall, the hilly regions of the State witnessed two massive landslides causing many human casualties and serious damages to the environment and properties in the past couple of years.

Extremely intense rainfall can destabilise hilly terrains where natural rubber is a popular crop among others. Occupying more than 22 per cent of the gross cropped area of the State, natural rubber plantations are mostly grown on the undulating and sloping terrains of along the foothills of Western Ghats which are increasingly becoming vulnerable to landslides.

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Landslide is a natural disaster that cannot be predicted with any degree of absolute certainty. But science-based precautions can empower local communities to remain vigilant, reducing the risk of occurrence of a landslide and its impact on people and property if it happens, the officials said.

Climate change has altered the rainfall pattern in the State and extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall and floods have become more frequent and intense which can possibly increase the incidence of landslides in future.

Published on July 20, 2021

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