Land Use Change Detection and Prediction in Upper Siem Reap River, Cambodia

TitleLand Use Change Detection and Prediction in Upper Siem Reap River, Cambodia
Annotated RecordAnnotated
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsChim K, Tunnicliffe J, Shamseldin A, Ota T
Secondary TitleHydrology
Key themesConversion-FoodSecurity, Environment

Siem Reap River has played a crucial role in maintaining the Angkor temple complex and livelihood of the people in the basin since the 12th century. Land use in this watershed has changed considerably over the last few decades, which is thought to have had an influence on river. This study was carried out as part of assessing the land use and climate change on hydrology of the upper Siem Reap River. The objective was to reconstruct patterns of annual deforestation from 1988 to 2018 and to explore scenarios of land use 40 and 80 years into the future. A supervised maximum likelihood classification was applied to investigate forest cover change in the last three decades. Multi-layer perceptron neural network-Markov chain (MLPNN-MC) was used to forecast land use and land cover (LULC) change for the years 2058 and 2098. The results show that there has been a significantly decreasing trend in forest cover at the rate 1.22% over the last three decades, and there would be a continuous upward trend of deforestation and downward trend of forest cover in the future. This study emphasizes the impacts of land use change on water supply for the Angkor temple complex (World Heritage Site) and the surrounding population.


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Document Type

Journal Article


Overall relevance: 

This article aims to better understand the pattern and drivers of land use and land cover change in the upper Siem Reap watershed, as land conversion is clearly linked to a variety of environmental processes. The study also extends its focus to future projections of land use and land cover change. An understanding of change can help the development of practical and effective land conversion and management. The findings will assist future studies to assess the impacts of LULC change and future climate change on river flows in the catchment area.

Key Themes: 
  • Land zoning, planning, conversion and food security - The landscape of the study area has altered significantly over the last few decades. The most prominent change is the conversion of forests to agricultural plantations while those demanding space for farming have encroached upon forest land. The marked decrease of forestland is a consequence of large-scale agricultural expansion and infrastructure development.
  • Land and the environment: pollution, deforestation, climate change, conservation zoning - Land use modification has a substantial impact on runoff and groundwater in and around the watershed. The new agricultural landscape in the basin might change the streamflow patterns and increasing peak flows. It also can affect the microclimate.
Research basis: 

To ascertain the research objectives, the paper applied the image supervised classification method to assess the trend of LULC change from 1988 to 2018 in the upper watershed. The prediction of the future LULC change for the years 2058 and 2098 employs the Land-Use Change Model. (Provided by Chandavin David)