Monitoring Habitat Characteristics Using GIS and Remote Sensing: A Case Study for...

Monitoring Habitat Characteristics Using GIS and Remote Sensing: A Case Study for Mitigating Human – Leopard Conflict in Pauri Garhwal, India

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Abstract

Monitoring Habitat Characteristics Using GIS and Remote Sensing: A Case Study for Mitigating Human – Leopard Conflict in Pauri Garhwal, India

Dr. Manoj Agarwal
Programmer (GIS & Remote Sensing)
Wildlife Institute of India,
India
Email: [email protected]

Kunwar Sain
Research Fellow
Wildlife Institute of India
Email: [email protected]

Devendra Singh
SRF
Wildlife Institute of India
Email: [email protected]

Dr. S. P. Goyal
Sr. Scientist
Wildlife Institute of India
Email: [email protected]

Wildlife resources are very important components of a sustainable forest. All wildlife need food, water, forest cover and forest corridors for their survival. These basic biological needs are the most important components of the wildlife habitat in the forest. Carnivore is one of the group; need much wider forested areas and corridors for their survival and to continue to exist in a region. There is a need to see how human and wildlife can co-exist by identifying and assessing the condition of wildlife habitats both within and outside protected areas.Man-Animal conflict problems have been recorded across India. In northern India, leopards are common in the forests of Pauri Garhwal District, Uttaranchal. Most of the areas where leopards travel is insecure and putting human in direct conflict with wildlife. District administration is facing severe problem of Human-Leopard conflict where conflict rate is inclining due to degradation of quality wildlife habitat and natural prey, resulting leopards are naturally forced to move towards human habitat areas. In the present study, we have monitored altitudinal variations with landscape characteristics in relation to different level of human-leopard conflicts observed in Pauri Garhwal, district of Uttaranchal, India using GIS and Remote Sensing. Landuse/landcover map at 1:50,000 scale was used for extracting the information about forest, non-forest and other habitat characteristics. Digital Elevation Model was generated for recording the information from low, medium and high conflict zones. Coded Grids of 2×2 km having information about level of conflicts were used for calculating the geographical area and percent area of forest, non-forest and other habitat characteristics falling in each zone.In Pauri Garhwal District conflicts have been recorded between 900 and 1700m altitudinal variations. It has been found that scrub is dominating with 50 percent where percentage of forest and habitation/agriculture is more or less equally divided with 25 percent between conflict altitudinal range. On the other hand, safest zone in the district falls, out of conflict attitudinal range, is protecting with high percentage of forest and scrub with low percentage of habitation/agriculture with the ratio of 5 : 6 : 1 respectively. The potential of state-of-art GIS and Remote Sensing technology has made possible to work in in-accessible landscapes like Pauri Garhwal, where altitudinal variation lies between 275 and 3200 m as well as predict any potential conflict areas in adjoining habitats in Uttaranchal.