5.1 PRELUDE

Land is the basic natural resource of mankind. Over the span of human history, man has drawn most of his sustenance and much (Ahmed and Mir, 2014). of his fuel, clothing and shelter from the land. (Mieszkowski and Mills 1993,Bartholomew 1955) Man fulfills his needs by putting the available land to different uses. Nature has provided human beings with abundant resources where he benefits himself from it with minimum efforts(Mather, 1986). Land use is the use of the land by man. In other words, land use simply means the use to which the land is being put or the utilization of land devoted to human activities (Mather, 1986). land use is defined as the human function of a given area while land cover is the physical surface of the land Sekliziots (1980). The landUse/land cover change analysis has become a central component in current strategies for managing and monitoring environmental changes (Mir and Ahmed, 2014).. Human activities play an important part in virtually all natural systems and are forces for change in the environment at local, regional, and even global scales (Turner 2001, Lambin et al., 1999). Community, cost-effective, and civilizing systems are varying on a earth that is over population built-up, interrelated than ever. Human dimension’s research includes studies of potential technological, social, economic, and cultural drivers of global change, and how these and other aspects of human systems may affect adaptation and the consequences of change for Society. (http://www.climatescience.gov/) to a large extent of this study is interconnected to explorations of causes and impacts of changes in atmospheric composition, weather, the water cycle, ecosystems, land use and land cover, and other earth systems. As the earth’s inhabitants has been growing rapidly and more pressure is put on the earth to hold up the increased population, hydrologic property are affected both on local and global scale. Since humans have controlled fire and domesticated plants and animals, they have cleared forests to wring higher value from the land. About half of the ice-free

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land surface has been converted or substantially modified by human activities over the last 10,000 years (Lambin, et al. 2003). A recent study estimated that undisturbed (or wilderness) areas represent 46% of the earth’s land surface (Lambin, et al. 2003 ,Ball, 2001). Forests covered about 50% of the earth’s land area 8000 years ago, as opposed to 30% today (Ball, 2001,FAO, 2003). Agriculture has expanded into forests, savannas, and steppes in all parts of the world to meet the demand for food and fiber (Lambin et al., 2003). Agricultural expansion has shifted between regions over time; this followed the general development of civilizations, economies and increasing populations (Foley et al., 2005, Mittermeier et al., 2003). Determining the effects of land use and land-cover change on the Earth system depends on an understanding of past land-use practices, current land-use and land-cover patterns, and projections of future land use and cover, as affected by human institutions, population size and distribution, economic development, technology, and other factors (Tom, 2003).

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