Chat Archives
Chat on "Use of GIS and Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Conservation " dated October 19, 2014
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Parabita
  • Susan Sharma: Todays chat is moderated by Parabita
  • Parabita Basu: Hi Susan
  • Susan Sharma: Topic is Use of GIS and Remote Sensing for biodiversity conservation
  • Susan Sharma: As we wait for more people to join in, please give an introduction about your work
  • Parabita Basu: Thanks Susan, am hopeful to khave people interested to know about the topic as it is important to understand in today's scenario
  • Parabita Basu: well, to give an introduction of myself and work
  • Parabita Basu: I have been engaged in research for past 7 years, focusing on the use of GIS and remote sensing technologies mainly for large carnivore conservation. During my Ph.D, I worked on identification of corridors for lions in between two protected areas, cutting across human dominated landscape.
  • Parabita Basu: The same study addressed the temporal changes in land use/cover pattern in a 30 years framework and the recommendations were fruitful in declaring the entire area as ecosensitive zone in 2012.
  • Parabita Basu: other than this I have worked on identifying suitable habitat patches for lions in the landscape of saurashtra
  • Susan Sharma: Where was your study area?
  • Parabita Basu: My study area was the whole landscape of Saurastra broadly, then Gir protected area at finer scale
  • Susan Sharma: Can you explain GIS and remote sensing to a lay person?
  • Parabita Basu: GIS is a set of tools and techniques that can be used to answer several questions like vegetation, land use/cover mapping, its temporal changes over time, spatial distribution of focal species of research, understanding habitat suitability,
  • Parabita Basu: corridor connectivity in a landscape, patch dynamics, animal movement pattern, various types of simulated modeling to understand the risk of climate change in future. This tool is mainly useful, when you have large areas to sample and you don’t have any clue from where to start with, but having very few presence records of the species may be from previous surveys or literature.
  • Parabita Basu: Again, if you are interested to know, how changes might have happened in species distribution or in land use/ cover in any particular area spatio-temporally etc.
  • Susan Sharma: Where do you get the raw data to feed into the GIS System?
  • Parabita Basu: Various data are available freely from different sources like different sensor images, climate data, human foot print data, elevation data etc
  • Susan Sharma: What is patch dynamics?
  • Parabita Basu: then you collect data in field also depending on your objectives of the study with GPS co-ordinates which you get in spatial domain with the help of GIS tools and techniques for further analysis
  • Parabita Basu: patch dynamics is, suppose you have bigger forest patch which you consider suitable for the concerned species but that is not static but changes in area, composition over time.
  • Parabita Basu: so how it is changing, and becoming vulnerable to risks happening along its boundaries
  • Parabita Basu: that you can understand with the help of GIS and remote sensing
  • Parabita Basu: its changes in size, structure, distance with other patches nearby etc
  • Susan Sharma: At what intervals is the data collected and for how long?
  • Parabita Basu: It again depends on your objective and the rate of change in the landscape.
  • Parabita Basu: If it is happening slowly, it would take long time for it to visible or prominent but where it is happening rapidly and suddenly, you might notice it, in short intervals.
  • Susan Sharma: For eg, in your project in Saurashtra, what are the key variables which made you recommend the said corridor to be protected?
  • Parabita Basu: In that particular landscape, through habitat suitability modeling, I observed, sparse vegetation along river channels play a crucial role in lion's movement between two protected areas, Gir and Girnar.
  • Parabita Basu: I had other variables like, elevation,available water resources, human disturbance, prey availability etc in the model.
  • Susan Sharma: That is interesting.
  • Parabita Basu: After knowing the role of those vegetation patches in lions movement, I was curious to know its status in 30 years frame work (1980-2010)
  • Susan Sharma: Sparce vegetation had a bigger influence than prey availabilty?
  • Parabita Basu: so then I found how it changed because of development, and only few patches remained by that time so we had to recommend for its sustenance over for the species survival in that landsacpe
  • Susan Sharma: I guess the prey would mostly be cattle owned by people in these areas.
  • Parabita Basu: Lions use those patches for movement in between two protected areas, so it had more impact than prey and again in absence of cover prey won't survive
  • Parabita Basu: the wild prey species in outside protected areas in that particular landscape are nilgai and wild pig
  • Susan Sharma: Yes, the corridors are used only for movement , not for establishing territory, i guess.
  • Parabita Basu: and obviously in an human dominated landscape, lions prey on cattles owned by people
  • Parabita Basu: yes its movement and these patches act as day refugia as well as stepping stones in connecting protected areas
  • Susan Sharma: Do you know of other areas where GIS mapping has been done to establish protected corridors?
  • Parabita Basu: yes, outside India, many examples are there where the technology has been used for long to establish the same
  • Parabita Basu: the list is very long
  • Parabita Basu: recently, I have worked on a report corridors connecting tiger landscapes
  • Parabita Basu: in India
  • Susan Sharma: some prominent ones which has been declared as protected areas as a result of GIS mapping?
  • Parabita Basu: which would be available soon in public domain, at present the report is with MOEF&CC
  • Parabita Basu: In India, many tiger reserves are declared recently and as per my knowledge, before declaring any area ecosensitive or protected,you need to do several analysis where you cant avoid the use of GIS and remote sensing
  • Susan Sharma: Are these corridors used for building roads and railway lines, if so, are there speed restrictions/night bans etc?
  • Parabita Basu: I was coming to this point
  • Parabita Basu: sometimes, we find mines withing or surrounding the proteceted area, so before giving the clearance while doing assessment of the sa,e on wildlife, we use this technology
  • Parabita Basu: sometimes national highways, state highways cross these corridors
  • Parabita Basu: like the corridor connecting kanha and pench
  • Parabita Basu: so there we identify regions when animal movement is high
  • Parabita Basu: and there we recommend several things, may be overpass, underpass, alternative routes so reduce the impact of roads on wildlife
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you for giving a good perspective on GIS mapping.
  • Susan Sharma: Our club tries to connect the expert with our members.
  • Parabita Basu: Thanks for inviting for the discussion. It was nice to chat with you. For any further discussion, you are always welcome
  • Susan Sharma: Though none else participated in the chat, i am sure the transcript will be read by many of our members.
  • Susan Sharma: Shall we call it a day then?
  • Parabita Basu: It's very nice initiative to take science close to people..good luck and keep it up.
  • Parabita Basu: Sure
  • Susan Sharma: As soon as I close the chat room, the transcript will be uploaded
  • Parabita Basu: Thanks once again and have a Green Diwali !
  • Susan Sharma: Yes Sure! happy Diwali to you too!
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