Biodiversity Characterization at Community Level using Earth Observation Data



Start Date: Jan, 2018
Status: Ongoing

Project Details

Department Ecology
Duration 4 Year(s)
Funding Agency(ies)

Department of Biotechnology and Department of Space


C. Sudhakar Reddy

National Remote Sensing Centre


Dr. A.O. Varghese, RRSC-Nagpur

Dr. Hitendra Padalia, IIRS, Dehradun

Dr. Shijo Joseph, Kerala Forest Research Institute

Dr. S.B. Padal, Andhra University

Dr. P.S. Nagar, M.S. University of Baroda

Team Ayushi KURIAN
Naveen Babu KANDA
Email ayyappan.n AT ifpindia DOT org

Project Description

Background: Increasing anthropogenic pressures on environment have been resulting in habitat loss, fragmentation and loss of biodiversity in the tropics. As the steady decline of forests progresses, more accurate information on the biodiversity (species, structural and functional composition) across spatio-temporal scales is necessary to understand the pattern and processes that shape and influence biodiversity of the region. This understanding will help in monitoring and conserving biodiversity. This study is part of the collaborative project titled “Biodiversity characterisation at community level in India using Earth Observation data", targeting totally 10 study sites across India, with partners from National Remote Sensing Centre and 6 other Indian Institutions. The project is jointly funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Space (DoS), Government of India.

Approach: The project is targeted at developing an Earth Observation based strategy for monitoring biodiversity at the community level in India. The approach is to develop a fine-grained description of vegetation structure, function, and composition from detailed field studies. Remote sensing data from a range of current Earth Observation platforms will be used to generate a set of multi-sensor, multi-scale and multi-temporal observations and variables to identify those that are relevant to biodiversity assessment at a range of scales. The field and Earth Observation data will be analysed to answer both spatial and ecological questions on the compositional, structural and functional aspects of biodiversity at the community level.The specific objectives are: (i) to characterize biodiversity and develop community level maps, (ii) to assess decadal changes of the regional forest landscapes, (iii) to describe vegetation structure using both high resolution multispectral satellite data and field inventory, (iv) to evaluate the utility of stand level canopy heterogeneity and height as a predictor of biodiversity and (v) to identify Earth observations and variables that are relevant to monitoring biodiversity at the community level.

Study area: In the proposed research, IFP team intend to study two selected sites viz., Ranganathaswamy Temple tiger reserve and Shettihalli Wildlife sanctuary. The sites are located within the range of the Western Ghats and categorized as protected forests in the Karnataka state.

Expected outcomes: This study will generate a baseline data of plant diversity at community level, fine-scale vegetation maps and species distribution across the environmental and disturbance gradients. The information will help us to determine the ecological stability, resistance and adaptive capacities of forests to the changing climate, environments and disturbances and to plan strategies for conservation of biodiversity and management of forests. The study would also provide an opportunity for the development of remote sensing based biodiversity monitoring program that will meet national imperatives and help to achieve international commitments.