Applications of Geographic Information System (Gis) for Monitoring of Biodiversity

Topics: Geographic information system, Remote sensing, Biodiversity Pages: 11 (3253 words) Published: January 13, 2013
APPLICATIONS OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS) FOR MONITORING OF BIODIVERSITY SAEED ABBAS
DEPARTMENT OF ZOOLOGY-WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES. UNIVERSITY OF KARACHI, KARACHI-75270 PAKISTAN E-Mail: baitham.abbas@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
This paper discusses the application of GIS as a tool in monitoring biodiversity with special reference to Pakistan. The major advantages of satellite data are that the large and inaccessible areas can be covered using a standard approach, with a uniform level of detail and at relatively low coast. Networked information like GIS and Remote sensing not only provides speedy answers to scientific problems and issues, but also broadens planet of possible questions on the conservation and sustainable utilization of biological diversity. Simply we can say that the GIS is associated with two different functions for a geographical perspective on biodiversity data and other environmental issues. (1) It contains a powerful reference base (geographic location), i.e. maps of natural vegetation (endemic, multipurpose, and threatened), soil, land cover, topography, hydrology, bird migration, distribution of fauna and flora, etc. (2) GIS is a powerful and effective way of communicating a large variety of information. In developing countries GIS is used so as to make possible the sustainable development, conservation, management and monitoring of biodiversity. In Pakistan the application of GIS in various fields is still not very common. Talking about its usage for biodiversity conservation, management and monitoring, it is just 5-7 years back. Departments like wildlife department of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhton Khawa, Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan and various NGOs like IUCN, WWF-P, SUPARCO are using this satellite based technology for conservation, management and monitoring of various ecological characteristics like distribution of flora and fauna, the population and the status of flora and fauna, the health of wetlands, national parks, game reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. In addition to this GIS is also use now a days in Pakistan for land use purposes but this work so far done is not enough to come through the circumstances face by our planet specially the tropical and sub tropical countries like Pakistan. Therefore, in Pakistan there is a need for more comprehensive approaches that deal with new remote sensing technologies and analysis in a GIS-environment, and that integrate findings collected over longer periods with the aim of prediction. It is also imperative to collect and integrate data from different disciplines. These are essential in the spirit of sustainable development and conservation, management and monitoring of natural resources. Keywords: geographic information system (GIS); biodiversity; monitoring.

INTRODUCTION

Geographical Information Systems

A Geographical Information System (GIS) is a system of hardware, software and procedures to facilitate the conservation, monitoring, management, etc by manipulation, analysis, modeling, representation and display of geo-referenced data to solve complex ecological and environmental problems. GIS functions in a systematic way as: data entry, data display, data management, information retrieval and analysis. The main function of an Information system is to improve one’s ability to make decisions. A geographic information system is an information system that is designed to work with data referenced to spatial or geographic coordinates. GIS is both a database system with specific capabilities for spatially referenced data, as well as a set of operation for working with any type of data as well. The three basic types of GIS applications which might also represent stages of development of a single GIS application are as under (Ramachandran, 1993, Ramachandran et.al., 1997, 1998).

Inventory Application

The first step in developing a GIS application is making an inventory of the features like flora and fauna for a given geographic...
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