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Measurement, monitoring and mitigation for environmental management

Hyderabad, India: The symposium on Environmental Management at Geospatial World Forum 2011 witnessed discussion on a wide array of topics ranging from protected forest monitoring to heat analyses in urban areas.

Chaired by Andhra Pradesh State Environmental Appraisal Committee Chairman Dr M Anji Reddy, 12 speakers presented their papers at the symposium. Stressing on the need to monitor the state’s forests accurately, Indian Forest Services officer Dr HC Mishra of AP Forest Department informed that the department’s aim is to realise the goal of enhancing the country’s existing forest cover from 20 per cent to 33 per cent. “In these times, the ground-level information should be measured with great accuracy. An annual monitoring of the forest cover and taking corrective steps would boost the extent of forest cover, which is required to stop the hazards of global warming and reducing the atmospheric carbon,’’ he said, while presenting methodology and results of a study on real time forest cover monitoring using Erdas Imagine software.

This was followed by a presentation on Environmental Management in Oil and Gas Industry by Deputy General Manager of ONGC Remote Sensing and Geomatics Dr DS Mitra from a Remote Sensing perspective. He said that the use of spatial techniques like remote sensing, GIS and GPS can help formulate mitigation and monitoring plans in an efficient manner. “Geospatial technology is an essential component of the environmental impact assessment process, as environmental resources are directly affected by changes in shape and extent of the proposed disturbance caused by explorations for oil and gas,’’ he said.

In a related field of non-renewable resources, Chief Manager of Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Narendra P Singh said that remote sensing-based monitoring for assessing the status of land and vegetation cover in mining areas would help in initiating remedial action for environmental protection. “In India, there is a highly uneven distribution of coal occurrence. Moreover, coal mines are present in forest and river catchment areas. GIS technology and satellite data help us in carrying out remedial actions to proceed with eco-friendly mining,’’ he suggested. Similar study done by Pankaj Kumar Borah of Rolta India presented his experiences with the usage of ROLTA Geospatial Fusion solution he carried out in Gujarat.

Presenting a case of automated biomass mapping for carbon credit verification, Chief Pilot & Operating officer of Bio-Carbon Systems International, Canada Robert Cormier informed that usage of R-Map technology resulted in lowering the expenditure for their project. “The R-Map technology is a specialized process of aerial multi-spectral imagery capture and analysis. This technology uses biometric analysis to harmonise information at different levels,’’ he explained and informed that he is looking forward offer such solutions to South Asia in general and India in particular.

Business development Director of a Brazilian firm Santiago & Cintra, Lara Musse Felix spoke about the geoportal and web solution developed by them using Erdas platform. “The data and images collected using the GIS technology could be effectively used in many environmental management issues like change detection, monitoring legally protected areas and agriculture, cartographic mapping, water resources among others.

In a crisp presentation on the delineation of climate division in peninsula Malaysia, Malaysian Meterological Department officer Fariza Yunus explained that they have mapped five classes of temperature elements for peninsular Malaysia. The 8-Band Challenge winner and Engineering Professor from Amercian Air Force Institute of Technology Christoph Borel gave a presentation on leaf and canopy modeling using DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2. “The usage of 8-bands remote sensing application is crucial in determining the health of vegetation, disease mapping, quantitative drought assessment, nitrogen deficiency, plant vigour among others,’’ he stated.

Sumit Khandelwal, an assistant professor from Malaviya National Institute of Technology, provided a case of Urban Heat analysis in Jaipur city of Rajasthan. “The rapid urbanisation has resulted in increase in the extent of impervious soil at the heart of the city resulting in increase of land temperatures. However, this is not the case with outskirts of the city where there is presence of vegetation,’’ he observed during his study of land surface temperature variations. He along with Prof Rohit Goyal located hot spots of the Jaipur city over a period of time.

Earlier, in the symposium, R Saravanan of Sugarcane Research and Development, Thailand gave a detailed narration about the prospects of GIS technology in the sugarcane industry. An environmentalist and journalist Sangeetha Deogawanka gave a presentation on Geospatial dimensions for groundwater management from a case study based in Kerala, while Aaranyak Programme Head Pranjit Kumar Sarma demonstrated how land cover change dynamics and future implication analysis in Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park of Assam has helped in restoring congenial atmosphere for greater One-horn rhinos in that area.

Arunima Dasgupta, junior research fellow from ISRO explained about the geostatistical approach and came up with fuzzy logic model for desertification risk assessment and prediction. The final presentation in the symposium was given by Aligarh Muslim Univeristy research scholar Arshad Amin on urbanization and loss of ecology.

Source: Our Correspondent