Biodiversity and Ecology Management Support Program

The term “biodiversity and ecology” indicates ecological life support and is important to humans for many reasons. Biodiversity is considered to have many intrinsic values i.e. each species has a value and a right to exist. The ecological life support provides functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants and many ecosystem services.

Humans are altering the composition of biological communities through a variety of activities that increase the rates of species invasions and species extinctions, at all scales, from local to global. To strengthen links to policy and management, the need of integrating ecological knowledge with the understanding of the social and economic constraints of potential management practices is the most important.

Integrating GIS with Biology Conservation

The distribution of species across the globe recognizes no national or political boundaries, so the need for detailed mapping and analysis of geographic features, species distribution and natural resources is a primary need of this new discipline from its inception. Geoinformatics has given many more dimensions to the applicability of remote sensing. For example, Landscape Ecology is benefited most from the availability of spatial analysis tools like GIS. The development of information systems and methodologies capable of delivering the organization of complexity sufficient to satisfy the needs of conservationists was a necessity for conservation biology.

GIS applications in conservation:

  • Generation of landscape indicators: Quantitative measurements of the status or potential health of an area. Example -ecological region, or watershed.
  • Gap Analysis: Mapping out sensitive habitats and overlaying the protected and undisturbed areas of habitat.
  • Modeling species invasion: Analysing potential biological species invasions by modeling the spatial spread of exotic species.
  • Habitat Connectivity: Identifying remaining areas of primary ecological significance and determining the ecological network connectivity and buffering larger existing conservation lands and other primary ecology.
  • Preserve Biodiversity: Ability to match conservation areas with the actual distribution of a wide variety of species within a target area.

Use of GIS tools:

  1. Quantum GIS(QGIS)
  2. Global Mapper
  3. Mango Mapper

Basic things to do with GIS:

  1. Create unique maps from the information you create/generate
  2. Integrate information from multiple sources
  • See how things are related in space
  1. View data on the landscape in a specific region with a variety of landscape scales, development spatial patterns, and research.

GIS database collection for mapping:

There are currently 36 recognized biodiversity hotspots, most biologically rich yet threatened regions. To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, an area must meet two strict criteria:

  • Contain at least 1500 species of vascular plants found nowhere else on earth(Endemic species)
  • Have lost at least 70% of its primary native vegetation.

The GIS database for biodiversity hotspots can be downloaded from “Biodiversity Hotspots” available on the zenodo website in shapefile format and the database for monitoring the ecosystem can be derived from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Explorer.