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April 2002 Issue
The Geographical Review
April 2002, Vol. 92 (2), pp. 282-306
Natural Hazards Risk in the Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh, India
James S. Gardner
Keywords: deforestation, Himalaya, India, natural hazards, vulnerability.
Hazardous processes, including floods, landslides, soil erosion, and debris flows, are common in the Himalaya. Deforestation has been held responsible for increasing risk from such hazards in the Indian context for more than a century. The deforestation-hazard linkage in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh is examined. Evidence suggests that the extent of forest cover has altered little over 150 years and that hazardous processes recur in much the same locations, with similar frequency and magnitude, except where road construction has increased slope instability. Nonetheless, population growth and economic development, especially since 1990, have increased vulnerability to hazards.