In the present study, the meandering behavior of the Barak River (Cachar), Assam was traced. Flow path length, meander neck length, sinuosity index, and river migration were determined segment-by-segment to demonstrate morphological changes. Decadal land-use land cover (LULC) maps were also prepared at the section scale using Landsat data (1990–2020) validated with the Kappa coefficient to characterize changes along alluvial floodplains. Urban growth and agricultural activities affect river morphology, especially where intensive agriculture was recorded, according to LULC studies. Due to urbanization, forestation constantly decreased, causing river variability. According to the results of the present study, river migration is very slow between Sec 1 and Sec 3. In terms of river stability, the parts are more stable, particularly Sec 1, which features less urbanization and agricultural activity than the other sections. The most vulnerable segments within the study area were considered to be Sec 2 and 4. There is a rather large amount of migration within sections, especially segments CC and GG. The river segments became more vulnerable as a new oxbow lake was formed and LULC changed over a decade. This stretch of Barak is characterized by a broad alluvial floodplain and is shifting since this study applies to various meandering types.

  • Even slight changes to river meandering parameters (such as flow channel length, meander neck length, and sinuosity index) can affect river stability. Changes in meandering parameters and land-use practices across the floodplain could also affect river morphology.

  • Urbanization and agriculture within floodplains cause river morphological changes over a decade.

  • River morphology changes significantly due to oxbow formation.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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