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Potential of RS and GIS for Dealing With the Environmental Issues

Potential of RS and GIS for Dealing With the Environmental Issues
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  Potential of RS and GIS for Dealing with the Environmental Issues   Space technologies have been successfully utilized worldwide in natural resources and disaster management. With the availability of high-resolution remote sensing data, monitoring of land, coastal and water resources at local scales has become possible to resource managers as a way to create timely and reliable assessments. GIS offers powerful tools for collection, storage, management and display of map related information, and supports in judging management decisions. Potential of remote sensing and GIS for specific purposes is discussed below Coastal Ecosystem Management. The urgency for protection of coral reefs and mangroves in particular and the coastal zones in general is determined by their sensitivity to environmental factors, the problems of pollution and sediments, the limits and challenges to land use planning and activities that are vying for use of the coastal resources, and the short time scales over which dynamics evolve in the coastal zones. Coastal zone managers need a tool to support them in taking management decisions. Following activities can be carried out utilising remote sensing and GIS technologies. ã   Detailed mapping of coral reef geomorphology and other coastal habitats ã   Development of spatial and non-spatial database related to coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems ã   Documentation of the health of coastal ecosystems with remote sensing based approaches ã   Monitoring historical and recent changes in coastal ecosystems to determine effects of anthropogenic activities and global change, and to provide early warning of such stressful events ã   Generating maps and other products of immediate use to coastal zone planners, managers, and to different resource user communities on regular basis ( i.e. fishing, tourism, etc.) Multiresolution and multisensor remote sensing data can be used to meet these goals. Cloud free high-resolution data of low tide conditions can be used for generating a database of detailed geomorphological maps of coral reefs following an appropriate classification system. Coarse spatial resolution optical data such as IRS-P4 OCM, SeaWiFS, can be used to monitor environmental conditions such as sediment plumes, runoff, etc. of the reefs at regional and country levels. Present state of health of the coastal ecosystems can be determined using remote sensing based approach and supported by field data. High- resolution data can be used to identify potential sites under risk/stress and for site specific monitoring of reefs. NOAA AVHRR data can be used for monitoring the sea surface temperature in and around Mauritius waters and provide early warnings of stress. A survey can be carried out to understand the needs of site-specific coral reef and coastal zone managers and an extensive database consisting of spatial and non-spatial information can be generated in GIS environment. Further, the GIS can be used for developing a decision  support system (DSS) to assist coral reef/coastal zone managers in making informed decisions for integrated coastal ecosystem management. Forest Resources and Ecological Management. Formulation of effective forest resources management strategies requires most up to date and detailed information in different spatial and temporal scales at the fingertips of the forest managers and decision makers. A comprehensive database can be created based on the region specific research of total forest health which will be highly beneficial to keep forest managers well informed and smoothen the working of the forest department at different levels of administration. Following information are required for this purpose. ã   GIS database of the forest ã   Taxonomic database of the flora (herbs, shrubs, trees, seedlings, saplings, climbers) ã   Forest soil database (including soil carbon) ã   Forest litter database ã   Biomass equations database (developed and existing) ã   Carbon sequestration maps ã   Net primary productivity (NPP) maps ã   Biological richness map Landuse change detection maps Moreover Different modeling techniques can be involved to estimate forest biomass, carbon pool and NPP at the relevant scales. The model results can be validated with the continuous multi-time ground based information in order to maintain highest level of accuracy. Fragmentation and biodiversity characterisation can be carried out based on the principles of landscape ecology using GIS. For this, various disturbance parameters would be required to be taken in the permanent sampling plots laid down through stratified random sampling approach in the homogeneous vegetation strata. Different biodiversity related observations are required to be made at plot level for all the trees, herbs, shrubs, saplings, seedlings and climbers throughout the nation. Forest carbon sequestration patterns can be studied based on the biomass, estimated through area and region specific biomass equations. Landuse change and its gradient can be estimated using satellite remote sensing techniques and GIS utilising multi-time datasets. After comprehensive analysis of the data generated, a customized Ecological Information System (EIS) can be developed to streamline different research processes and provide users the flexibility to get desired information instantly. Water Resources Management. Water resources management is required to augment its capacity to respond to situations arising out of water stress and crisis by providing support in increasing water storage through runoff reduction, water resources assessment, water quality monitoring, etc. Specific requirements are the followings. ã   Monitoring of surface water quality ã   Monitoring of waste disposal ã    Analysis for water distribution network ã   Identification of environmentally sensitive areas ã   Site suitability assessment for construction of dams for increasing storage ã   Site suitability assessment for waste disposal ã   Identification of ground water potential zones ã   Identification and development of indicators of watershed conditions Most of the information can be derived and generated using remote sensing data and analysis of the generated information in GIS environment. Appropriate RS data can be used to derive geology, geomorphology, drainage, digital elevation model, land use/cover, watershed, soil and other relevant parameters. These variables can be used for monitoring  and modeling water resources. GIS can be used to create water resources inventory and generate database at different scales. Further, GIS can be used for simulation of various scenarios, which would be helpful in understanding interactions between landuse/cover, water flow/quality, and for generating action oriented products of use to water resource managers and developing a relevant decision support system (DSS). Disaster Management.  A Disaster Management Information System is required for to strengthen its capacity to predict and respond to emergency situations, including those affecting human settlements stemming from natural and environmental disasters. The main requirements are given below. ã   Generation of vulnerability maps of entire disaster prone area for disasters particularly the cyclones, tsunami, flood, drought and also the consequence of climate change, i.e. sea level rise ã   Simulations of effects/damages of these disasters/phenomena under various environmental scenarios ã   Generation of products for supporting disaster management decisions such as probable evacuation maps, resource mobilization maps, mitigation, etc. The aforementioned spatial information can be generated from a variety of remote sensing data available for different themes and can be linked with related non-spatial data. Disaster events can be modeled and displayed in GIS, which would be useful to visualise/ analyse the consequences of a possible disaster. It is also required to logically display these data for decision makers/ planners to respond and take appropriate action. For the purpose, GIS can be used as it provides a mechanism to organize and display information in desired manner. Computer simulations linked to GIS can be generated which would permit analysis of loss of life and disruption of infrastructure. This visualization system would allow managers/ planners, researchers, and the general public to understand the effect of the various phenomena and to design appropriate mitigation plans.

Case Study 1

Jul 24, 2017
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