Landscape Analysis 2002 | Biodiversity | Ecology

ROY & BEHERA

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Tropical Ecology 43(1): 151-171, 2002 © International Society for Tropical Ecology

ISSN 0564-3295

Biodiversity assessment at landscape level
P.S. ROY & M.D. BEHERA

Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (NRSA), Dehradun 248001, India
Abstract: Biodiversity is dynamic in nature; species and their populations are in a constant state of evolutionary change. The changes, as well as human-induced modifications of biodiversity, must be thought against the background of its 3.5 billion years history. The discrepancy between field knowledge and predictions; the applicability of the model to continual situations, where ecosystem fragmentation and consequent area loss is the important consideration and various methods for predicting biodiversity distribution have been discussed here. The utility of landscape ecological principles for biodiversity characterization has been described. Use of satellite remote sensing, geographic information system (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) techniques for assessing the disturbed and biologically-rich sites by many researchers have been highlighted. Satellite-derived vegetation map and various landscape ecological parameters (viz., patch shape, patch size, number of patches, porosity, fragmentation, interspersion and juxtaposition) were analyzed by various authors to characterize various habitat ecosystems. The present approach of prioritizing the biodiversity rich sites has the advantage of integrating spatial and non-spatial information with horizontal relationships and thus provides clue for conservation prioritization. Under the behest of Department of Biotechnology and Department of Space, Government of India, landscape ecological approach is being used to characterize the biologically-rich areas in six regions of the country i.e., north-east India, western Himalaya, western Ghats, Andaman and Nicobar islands, eastern and central India. A case study for the state of Arunachal Pradesh has been discussed in detail. The potential applications of the database prepared as a result of the inventory have been described. This method of biodiversity characterization has the following advantages over the traditional method of inventory e.g. (i) has an ecological basis since many ecological components are considered (ii) all the components have precise positional (locational) representation on earth surface. In the days of pilferage of bioresources and in the backdrop of intellectual property right issues, a quick and effective geospatial technique for characterizing biodiversity at landscape level will go a long way in conservation and judicious management of bioresources. Resumen: La biodiversidad tiene una naturaleza dinámica; las especies y sus poblaciones están en un estado constante de cambio evolutivo. Se debe pensar en los cambios y las modificaciones de la biodiversidad inducidas por los seres humanos a la luz de sus 3,500 millones de años de historia. Se discuten la discrepancia entre el conocimiento de campo y las predicciones, la aplicabilidad del modelo a situaciones continuas, donde la fragmentación de los ecosistemas y la consecuente pérdida de área es la consideración importante, así como varios métodos para la predicción de la biodiversidad. Se describe la utilidad de los principios de la ecología del paisaje en la caracterización de la biodiversidad. Se enfatiza el uso de técnicas de percepción remota satelital, sistemas de información geográfica (SIG) y sistemas de posicionamiento global (GPS) en la evaluación hecha por numerosos investigadores de los sitios perturbados y los biológicamente ricos. Varios autores analizaron un mapa de vegetación obtenido de información satelital, así como varios parámetros ecológicos del paisaje (p.ej., forma del fragmento, tamaño
Address of Correspondence: P.S. Roy, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (NRSA), 4, Kalidas Road, P.O. Box – 135, Dehradun UA 248001, India. Tel: +91-135-744583, 744518; Fax: +91-135-741987; Email: psr@iirs.gov.in

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del fragmento, número de fragmentos, porosidad, fragmentación, entremezclado y yuxtaposición) con el fin de caracterizar varios ecosistemas de hábitat. El presente enfoque para asignar prioridades a los sitios ricos en biodiversidad tiene la ventaja de integrar información espacial y no espacial con relaciones horizontales, y por lo tanto ofrece claves para la asignación de estas prioridades en la conservación. Por disposición de los Departamentos de Biotecnología y de Espacio, Gobierno de la India, el enfoque de la ecología de paisaje está siendo utilizado para caracterizar áreas biológicamente ricas en seis regiones del país, i.e., el noreste de la India, el Himalaya occidental, los Ghats occidentales, las islas Andaman y Nicobar, y la India oriental y central. Se discute en detalle un estudio de caso para el estado de Arunachal Pradesh. Se describen las aplicaciones potenciales de la base de datos obtenida como resultado del inventario. Este método para caracterizar la biodiversidad tiene las siguientes ventajas sobre los métodos de inventario tradicionales: (i) tiene una base ecológica ya que se consideran muchos componentes ecológicos, y (ii) todos los componentes tienen una representación de posición (localidad) en la superficie de la tierra. En los días de saqueo de recursos bióticos y teniendo como telón de fondo la cuestión del derecho de propiedad intelectual, una técnica geoespacial rápida y efectiva para caracterizar la biodiversidad a nivel de paisaje llegará muy lejos en la conservación y el manejo sensato de los recursos bióticos. Resumo: Na natureza a biodiversidade é dinâmica; as espécies e as suas populações estão em constante mudança evolutiva. As mudanças na biodiversidade, e incluindo as induzidas pelo homem, devem ser consideradas em relação ao pano de fundo dos seus 3,5 milhões de anos de história. A discrepância entre o conhecimento de campo e as predições; a aplicabilidade do modelo de situações de continuidade, onde a fragmentação do ecossistema e perdas consequentes de área são considerações importantes, e os vários métodos para predição da biodiversidade são discutidos. A utilidade dos princípios da ecologia da paisagem para a caracterização da biodiversidade é descrita. O uso, por muitos investigadores, da detecção remota por satélite, do sistema de informação geográfica (SIG) e das técnicas do sistema de posicionamento global (GPS) para avaliação dos distúrbios em estação biologicamente ricas têm sido evidenciadas. Mapas de vegetação baseados na informação de satélite bem como de vários parâmetros ecológicos da paisagem (configuração e tamanho das manchas, número das manchas, porosidade e fragmentação, intercepção e justaposição) foram analisados por vários autores para caracterizar os vários habitats dos ecossistemas. A abordagem da priorização presente da biodiversidade de estações ricas tem a vantagem de integrar informação espacial e não espacial, com relações horizontais, e providenciar, dessa maneira, chaves para priorização da conservação. Sob comando do Departamento de Biotecnologia e Departamento do Espaço do Governo da Índia, foi usada uma abordagem com base na ecologia da paisagem para caracterizar as áreas biologicamente ricas em seis regiões do país, i.e., noroeste da Índia, Himalaias ocidentais e Ghates ocidentais e das ilhas de Andaman e Nicobar, Índia oriental e central. Um estudo de caso para o Estado de Arunachal Pradesh é discutido em detalhe. As aplicações detalhadas da base de dados preparada em resultado do inventário é descrita. Este método de caracterização da biodiversidade apresenta as seguintes vantagens sobre o método tradicional: (i) tem uma base ecológica, dado que muitas componentes ecológicas são consideradas; (ii) todas as componentes estão georeferenciadas. Nos dias em que os biorecursos são rapinados e a propriedade intelectual é sonegação, uma rápida e efectiva técnica geoespacial para caracterização da biodiversidade ao nível da paisagem tem uma larga aplicação na conservação e gestão judiciosa dos biorecursos.

Key words:

Biological richness, conservation prioritization, disturbance regimes, fragmentation, Geographic Information System, remote sensing.

ecosystem and habitat levels. at the various organism levels. It is becoming evident that patterns of diversity in natural settings showing strong ecological correlation may reflect history rather than the product of ecological equilibrium of species diversity determined by the outcome of species interactions. not an entity or a resource. Thus it would be the diversity of all life and is a characteristic or property of nature. Biosphere Biome Landscape Ecosystem Community Population Species Fig. range or extent of differences between the biological entities in a given set.. at the regional. which is kilometers wide is called a landscape. populations and individuals. National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). This covers the total range of variation in and variability among systems and organisms. Biodiversity Assessment: Indian Initiatives Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have been involved in survey and exploration of flora and fauna present in the country (1983). Government of India has been involved in launching various projects from time to time for inventorying and preserving the biological database viz. Distributional studies of biodiversity patterns show that each region has had a unique phylogenetic. Project on Study. Such lineage diversification produces strictly hierarchical pattern. geographical extent and different historical patterns of barrier formation and consequent biotic disruptions. 1). . and is most constrained by dispersal in areas that are surrounded by dis- similar habitats (Colinvaux 1993). landscape. A structurally distinct geographical space. The decrease in diversity by decrease in distance may in part reflect the relative edge. Biosphere is the limited zone of life on earth. Through natural selection. including human action. and their origin and evolution in space and time domain.5 billion years of biotic evolution has led to an enormous diversity of living forms on earth. Survey and Conservation of Endangered Plants (POSSCEP). It also covers the complex shades of structural and functional relationships within and between these different levels of organisations (Fig. geographic and ecological history that has set contemporary biodiversity. Roughly 4.ROY & BEHERA 153 Introduction Biodiversity refers to the quality. Darwin’s (1859) theory of evolution by descent made sense of the natural patterns observed in the variation between organisms. these heritable changes may spread throughout the population and over time can lead to the production of new linkages closely similar to their relatives. 1. Biodiversity often decreases with distance from source populations. down to species. The Red Data Book enlists the IUCN categories of plants and animals occurring in various parts of the nation (Nayar & Shastri 1987).

The remote predictors or surrogates often play very sig- nificant role to measure richness. scaling processes among different spatial and temporal scales and the whole concept of ‘ecosystem management’ include many of the tenants of landscape ecology. and introduction of invasive species and lack of national land use policy. ecoregions and oceanic realms. 2). species diversity.. The relatively new discipline of landscape ecology provides insight into both landscape diversity and species diversity and suggests a theoretical and practical basis for conservation planning. assessment of characterization units and techniques leave rather a dissected view of biodiversity at different levels of description. It was observed that the process of selecting protected areas and determining a protection category was arbitrary.154 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT However. But the important components lacked in these studies are (a) lack of proper documentation and database retrieval system (b) lack of spatial (locational) information on IUCN plant categories (c) absence of time-period study to assess the change etc. and at a variety of smaller scales within landscape into ecosystems and communities. Organisms occur in an intricate spatial mosaic classified on a world scale into biogeographic zones. Characterizing biodiversity Biodiversity characterization involves two different processes. The biodiversity at landscape level can be characterized by measures of species richness. even densely settled areas were designated as national parks and many important biodiversity areas were not included in the network (Kothari et al. The habitat surrogates including classification of vegetation. unsystematic and inconsistent. biomes. Landscape ecology allows studying these processes on different scales and time. Hence. Most obvious causes of biodiversity loss in India have been habitat loss. Choosing a surrogate level from this scale is a compromise between the precision of the measure on the one hand. ecology and genetics. 1989). details on the physical environment. they are part of the same process. An established method of biodiversity conservation is the protected area concept. In a most recent attempt to map bio-geographical regions. the observational and characterization of the main units of variation (genes. As a result. taxic diversity and functional diversity (Roy & Behera 2000).e. Characterization of biodiversity depends critically on the work of three scientific disciplines i. The Wildlife Institute of India has converted these regions on to Survey of India (SOI) digital database. In reality. taxonomy. The . which lacks many integral components. over-exploitation. Rodgers & Panwar (1988) attempted to define the bio-geographical regions of India and mapped ten bio-geographical zones. The taxonomic inventories in the past have only been able to reach partial level of understanding the richness. managing large datasets. This information base could also guide detailed sampling on the ground. These larger scale surrogates include entire functional system and are more likely to promote population viability in the ecosystem. It can also be considered as higher level of biological complexity and immensely useful for understanding various complex processes. If the value of biodiversity to a conservationist is associated with its use to people then this ought to be separated carefully from issues of rarity. exploring distribution of resources within community. Protected areas were also not placed in any rational system of regional land use planning. Landscape ecology A landscape addresses a number of technical issues e. and the availability of the data and the cost of data compilation on the other. factors determining the biodiversity loss in a spatial context may be of practical information value and could reduce sampling intensity. a lot of database has been developed out of these studies. this is likely to differ with earlier measures of ecological diversity formulated with the narrower aim of representing differences in abundance among species. If the biodiversity value is associated with richness in a currency of characters of organism then the higher level of biological organization (or environmental factors affecting its distribution) will have to be used in surrogate measures. In conservation.g. Ecological systems do not exist as discrete units but represent different parts of a natural continum in the form of landscape.. viability and threat. the analysis of pattern defines the unit and characterization of their variation. Hence this should be a top down and bottom up approach together (Fig. Higher-level surrogates should have the additional advantage of implicitly integrating more of the functional processes that favour viability. species and ecosystems) and the quantification of variation within and between them.

Hierarchy of biological organization. Different patch types provide different habitats and species composition. thus one might expect that the total number of species in a landscape would increase as landscape richness increases (Burnett et al.ROY & BEHERA 155 Approach (Existing) 1 Approach (Proposed) 2 : : Time Consuming High extinction rate ? Overtaking inventory process Stratified approach Extrapolation on large landscapes Systematic Monitoring Spatial Environmental Database Landscape 1 ach pro p A Ecosystem Community Population Species Genes Hierarchy of Biological Organisation Fig. including the effects of human activities on the system. Landscape composition can be measured in ways analogous to measurements of species composition (Romme 1982).e. Patch description A patch is relatively homogenous nonlinear area that differs from its surroundings. 2 ach o r p Ap management should thus focus on the ecosystems that contain these species and on the landscapes in which ecosystems are found. Measurements of landscape diversity are analogous to common measurements of species diversity (Whittaker 1977. The patch is the basic unit of the landscape structure. the number of different patch types in a landscape. The conservation of biodiversity requires understanding of all three elements. The most straight forward approach is landscape richness i. 1998). Another approach includes the relative abundance or dominance of different patch types along with richness. Landscape dynamics include characteristics of structure and function both in order to examine changes in pattern and processes over time. 1995). material and species among patches differing in size. 2. The distribution of energy. abundance and configuration are particularly important to patterns in diversity at the landscape scale. Landscape level approach also addresses the changes that might be expected in biodiversity as a result of anthropogenic activity and also the complementary issue of how changes in biodiversity will affect the functioning of biological systems (Franklin 2001). The definition and identification of individual patches and . There are three basic characteristics of landscapes that affect their diversity: structure. shape. the characteristics of patches and the spatial relationships among patches are important components of the landscape (Lidicker 1995). function and dynamics (Forman & Godron 1986).

(1993) provided quantitative techniques to group similar cells into homogenous patches or to identify repeating patterns across landscape. Fragmentation study takes into account connectivity (corridors). edge effects and biotic changes (Bierregaard et al. Large fragments have more species. are less distributed and have lower road access than smaller fragments. 3). The patch size and shape are the most understood landscape characteristics with species diversity. Severity of tropical forests fragmentation has been studied with respect to distance effects. It in- creases the vulnerability of these patches to external disturbance with threat on the survival of these patches and on the supporting biodiversity (Nilson & Grelsson 1995). It is also observed that habitat requirement for sensitive species are specific to area size and surrounding characters (Bancroft et al. although at the same time these warm edges are attractive to alien species (Brothers & Spingarn 1992).156 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT their boundaries are important steps in characterizing the structure of a landscape. 2001. there are many ways to describe and quantify them (Peter et al. Villard et al. presence of ecotones. 1995). fragments are better than nothing (Turner & Corlett 1996). the meta population structure etc. . Ravan & Roy 1997). 3. Species Area Curve showing the increase in species number with increasing patch size tending towards a regional limit (Peter et al. 1992. 2001). Fragmentation is one of the most severe processes to depress biodiversity (Farina 1998). The relationship between patch size and species richness goes well beyond the familiar species-area curve (Fig. Once the patches in a landscape have been identified. These methods include moving window analysis and satellite image to characterize landscapes with sharp transitions. 1995). Despite these negative effects. 1995). Most methods of patch identification combine qualitative and quantitative approaches. The corridors are physical and functional connectivity to allow the movement of plant species and fauna. Fragmentation Fragmentation of landscape results in geographical isolation and the probability of recolonisation strongly depends on the distance of fragments from the main core and on the quality of the surrounding habitat. Fragments having edges of dense shrubby vegetation that prevent alien species from entering. Turner et al. They are severely affected due to fragmentation (Villard & Taylor 1994. Ritters et al. Fragmentation of the terrestrial habitats is wide- No. fragment size. of Species Patch Area Fig.

geographic information system and landscape analysis for biodiversity conservation in western Ghats using geospatial modeling approach. (Pandey & Shukla 1999. heterogeneity and causative mechanisms have been established by Ravan & Roy (1995) during their landscape dynamics study of Madhav National Park in India. The landscape way – world goes? The structured. only considered habitat fragmentation and did not include many other important landscape parameters.e. analysing and evaluating the distribution of vegetation. Hence in landscape perspective. (c) species interactions within communities. Turner 1989). The role of patch connectiveness on the dispersal and spatio-temporal distribution of a small tree dwelling bird and also revealing the presence of birds being significantly related to the length of suitable patches has been dealt by Farina (1998). This approach takes into account the extent of deforestation. Godron (1991) has documented that remote sensing gives a perspective horizontal view and helps in delineating different landscape elements and their spatial characteristics. They found that the landscape elements significantly support distinctive sets of species of flowering plants. 1997). geographical or other factors have been dealt in by many workers (Currie 1993). microclimate and successful stages after recovery from disturbance (Lambeck & Saunders 1993). Relationships between richness patterns and various ecological. Richerson & Lum 1980. Small patches of forest tend to have a greater proportion of edge to interior than large patches and thus are more likely to harbour exotic or weedy species (Levenson 1981). 1993). (1998) combined field surveys of plants and animals with satellite re- mote sensing of broad vegetation types to map biodiversity and thereby helped plan conservation in Sango Bay area in Uganda. distribution of forest/vegetation types. did not take into account human induced disturbance sources. The study. However. Roy & Tomar 2000). it is possible to measure the relative size and isolation of the patches. 1989.. topographic conditions.ROY & BEHERA 157 spread in most parts of the world. Forman & Godron (1986) observed three landscape characteristics i. the study did not analyze landscape based ecological parameters in a spatial context. Nagendra & Gadgil (1999) attempted to investigate relationship of various landscape elements on the basis of field observation. structure. They also could not integrate field data with satellite derived vegetation maps. (b) interspecies dependence. species composition of heath and mire in Northern Ireland was based on multivariate land classification and field sampling (Millsopp et al. 1989. The study. The accuracy and validity of modeling geographical patterns of species richness are critical factors in distinguishing and understanding the so called hotspots of biodiversity (Roy et al. however. Few studies have been done in India to establish relationship between the disturbance and the biological richness of the landscape elements. Matrix is the most connected element and structural attribute. McGarigal & Marks (1995) have documented that the patch density and mean patch size serve as fragmentation indices for comparison between two time periods. Fuller et al. (1999) had used remotely sensed data and GIS to categorize habitats. ecological or habitat space biology (Pinaka 1966. (1997) have attempted a vegetation-based approach for biodiversity gap analysis. Debinski et al. Roy et al. Environmental patchiness can reflect a mosaic of soil types. spatially explicit approach for describing. and (e) dynamics of a landscape. patchiness. Wien 1994). Ramesh et al. The functional relationships of patchiness with species diversity are due to (a) dependence of species diversity on physical substrate. (d) incidental species relations. Several studies have suggested that the landscape have critical threshold at which ecological processes will show dramatic qualitative changes (Gardner et al. however. Patch size can influence floral and faunal composition and richness. matrix and patches are the elements that are used while considering fragmentation in a landscape (Baudry 1984. Using the neighborhood concept. Many workers had studied on the patterns of species richness in biogeographical. Rohde 1992). and then determined the relationship between remotely sensed habitat categorizations and species distribution patterns. function and change. and species diversity for each forest/vegetation type and uniqueness of the habitats. and its negative effects have been well-documented (Saunders & Ingram 1987). O’ Neill et al. 1997. Menon & Bawa (1997) have also found the role of remote sensing. Roy & Tomar (2000) used geospatial techniques to char- . A horizontal relationship between the various spatial units at different spatial scale to study the homogeneity.

Given the large number of species on the planet. . Biodiversity conservation planning at the landscape level – why? To preserve species diversity most effectively. Fragmentation has a strong influence on the dynamics and fate of the material and energy moving across a landscape. Species inventories provide the foundation for future industrial applications. The primary requirements to evolve such an approach would be: • Determination of disturbance regimes. rather than simply preserving the species in isolation from the larger. Chapter 15. Studies of specimens collected during inventories yield data useful for resolving the phylogenetic relationships of species. ecosystem. including species diversity. The importance of the study lied in the fact that it can help in prioritizing sites in conservation and also facilitate monitoring the perturbations of the richness of the landscape as a function of space and time. contagion.6 calls for the development of ‘methodologies with a view to undertake systematic sampling and evaluation on a national basis of the components of biological diversity identified by means of country studies’ and to initiate or further develop methodologies and begin or continue work on surveys at the appropriate level on the status of ecosystems and establish baseline information on biological resources. 2000b. Management practices aimed directly at a particular species run the risk of losing ecosystem functions that might actually be crucial for the target species. 1993).158 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT acterize biodiversity at landscape level in Meghalaya. Behera (2000a) mapped the biologically-rich areas in Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh and observed that much of the biologically-rich areas were lying in the sub-tropical zone. which in turn. Furthermore.e. The capacity of the landscape to incorporate human disturbance is overwhelmed and the disturbance process is transformed into a stress process. through sampling and other techniques. potentially changing environment. the components of biological units identified. Information on species is crucial before they are lost forever. which reduces biodiversity. management plans must preserve the habitats and landscape structure needed by the target species. or at best impractical. habitat and its attributes and disturbance regimes to model the spatial variation in biological richness. but that were unknown when the management plan was created. particularly those associated with bioprospecting (Behera et al. maximizing benefits for one species may threaten others. it is impossible. Behera et al. degree of fragmentation. 1995). Community analysis Inventorying and analyzing vegetation cover is the most practical way of tracking biodiversity. are essential for building predictive classification systems and permit the estimation of character diversity for comparison of biota (Williams et al. to manage for every one of them. (unpublished) attempted to validate the findings and observed that fragmentation has got significant impact on species diversity. community and population structure (Pickett & White 1985). • Knowledge on spatial distribution of biological richness.. These relationships can be used to help prioritise areas for conservation or other land management decisions. Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on Environment and Development requires signatory parties to ‘identify components of biodiversity importance conservation and sustainable use and monitor. Severe disturbance or even a prolonged absence of disturbance generally has depressing effect on biodiversity. Disturbance regimes and their impact on communities and landscape can be well understood by analyzing spatial and temporal architecture of disturbance (Moloney & Levin 1996). fractal dimension. The pioneering attempt took into account environmental complexity. The ideal is to preserve overall ecosystem health. juxtaposition. Instead. The disturbance regimes can be measured by using different indices i. Is biodiversity related to disturbance? Disturbance is a common and widespread phenomenon in nature and may be defined as a discrete event along the passage of time that modifies landscape. but intermediate disturbance seems to enhance diversity in a system (Pickett & White 1985). conservation biologists are now trying to identify ways to simplify the task of landscape level management. evenness and patchiness (Li & Reynolds 1994). Reid et al.

They are ordinarily computed from samples of relatively homogenous cover types. gregarious formations and communities occurring in unique environmental setup (Behera 1999). 1996 have forecasted that applications to biodiversity conservation is one of the areas in which remote sensing will play a role in the future. It enables aggregation and dis-aggregation of data between regional. GIS supports spatial statistical analysis of ecological distributions. Space may be considered as ‘the final frontier for ecological theory’ (Karieva 1994) spacing or spatial arrangement is a scaled property of living organisms. the actual vegetation physiognomy and human pressure indices (e. perimeter. Kasturirangan et al. it has been actually observed. Spacing depends mainly on resource availability. Size. Diversity and dominance are well known examples of those indices (Baker & Cai 1992). This is the central dogma of landscape ecology. Plants react to resource availability by arranging themselves in a finite and predictable pattern. 1994). orientation. landscape and plot scales. It has a great potential . which are related to phenological types. In 1996. which measure the heterogeneity of landscape within a specific radius. Global positioning system A GPS is a satellite-based positioning system operated by the U. sensitive to particular landscape structure and function. and provides input data/parameters for ecosystem modelling.S. Such an approach allows monitoring the forest condition and degradation processes (Roy & Behera 2000). as deduced from the density of population or road network). In Indian context. The data generated through ground truthing and integration of related attributes when used in GIS application result into significant features of biodiversity and genetic resources. connectivity. It also assists in location of study plots and/or ecologically sensitive areas. GIS provides a database structure for efficiently storing and managing ecosystem-related data over large regions. The multispectral satellite images provide definitions of vegetation patches.g.g. It helps to assess disturbance levels.. or to combine different data sets for defining the potential list of species for a given forest type. and Identification of set of focal species. Not much work has been done towards analysis of these variables from satellite images. Chuvieco 1999). Department of Defense (DoD). These maps can also be analyzed using various indices quantitatively. It provides possibilities to extrapolate observations e. The images also provide digital mosaic of the spatial arrangement of land cover and vegetation types amenable to computer processing (Coulson et al. It has recently been shown that these clumps (also known as ‘geographic windows’) are more suitable to describe spatial patterns than the standard moving windows of fixed sizes (Dillworth et al. named patches. shapes. visibility or diversity of patches are critical variables for describing the landscape mosaic. Geospatial tool – how does it help? Landscape ecology has evolved as an operational tool with the availability of geospatial modeling techniques. GPS allows the collection of information about the geographical position of any location using a network of satellites. communities and meta-communities. The other approach to analyze the landscape pattern properties is based on nominal scale classified maps. to automatically define and map the potential area of a given species and to compare it with the locations where. from individuals to populations. 1990 . Analysis of landscape fragmentation (Turner et al. Satellite remote sensing Acquisition of images of earth from space has opened new frontiers in mapping.. It is the ecological replay of an organism to nonuniform distribution of resources (habitat suitability) and to inter and intra-specific competition in space and time. It improves remote sensing information extraction capabilities. the spatial distribution of several species in order to determine biodiversity hotspots.ROY & BEHERA 159 • • Determination of the optimum size of conservation areas. 1993) has been common goals in the use of satellite data for landscape pattern analysis. past and present maps for monitoring land cover and land use changes. Menon & Bawa (1997) have used remote sensing and GIS technologies for biodiversity conservation following landscape ecology and spatial analysis approach. Geographic information system (GIS) GIS provides the way to overlay different ‘layers’ of data: the ecological conditions. presence of corridors. The temporal images help in monitoring all back processes a landscape has experienced (Delcourt & Delcourt 1988).

multivariate modeling of long-term datasets allows to formulate and test the hypothesis. The present effort to characterize vegetation cover. Some priority setting approaches use social. Finally the approach can be extended to study species diversity and genetic variability in biologically rich sites for prioritizing focus on bioprospecting. The assessment of biological rich areas brings out distinctiveness of the landscapes as driven by pattern of richness. it acts as a powerful tool to describe the geographical characteristics of ecological systems. 2000c). representiveness (how closely an area represents a defined ecosystem) and function (the degree to which a species or ecosystem affects the ability of other species or ecosystems to persist). Such an approach allows to build habitat factors like biophysical environment. Ecological approaches for setting priorities for biodiversity conservation generally seek to protect most of the species within conservation areas that are representative of a region’s natural habitat. Considering the biological criteria. may be political. The results presented here could form the basic guideline to plan flora and faunal future inventories. endemism. Hence. areas can be identified where the actions are most likely to succeed. Such database coupled with detailed sitespecific field inventories helps in identifying areas for bioprospecting.160 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT in landscape ecology. abundance. The focus should be to cover varied landscapes differing based on vegetation types. biological corridors. It should be based on robust samples enabling calibration for future rapid biodiversity assessment. The BIS allows to identify gap areas. uniqueness and representativeness. disturbance regimes and BR. economic. A practical use of GPS has been in locating the sample plots and this information was used for mapping and spatio-statistical analysis (Behera et al. Biodiversity conservation priority – setting the right criteria? The complexity priority setting varies considerably due to complexity of biodiversity and the number of ways of valuing it. Coupled with GIS. with increased recognition the social. as well as in many other related disciplines requiring geographic locations of the objects in the landscape (Farina 1998). from ecosystem to species and genes that are targeted for biodiversity inventories and conservation. ecological processes and disturbance regimes that help to define the ecosystem. rarity. policy and institutional criteria as well. logistical or institutional terms. Such areas remain by and large under explored. distinctiveness (how much a species differs from its nearest relative). inventorying patterns. The dataset could also allow monitoring and forecasting changes through extinction models using multi-temporal data. Baseline data on biodiversity at landscape level The goals and scales of inventorying and monitoring programs may change with time. The analysis made also presents full range of distinct natural communities and ecological status at landscape level. Landscapes contain all levels of the biological hierarchy. However. points to biodiversity elements of known or potential use to humankind. sustain important ecological processes and services that maintain biodiversity are also mapped. Such modeling can help in impact of global change in different landscapes. endemism. community composition and diversity. threat (degree of harm or danger). Ecosystem approaches for identifying conservation priorities use multiple criteria such as species richness. 4). landscape indices and disturbance regimes which allow monitoring changes taking place over a time in biodiversity regimes. the baseline data at landscape level should be sufficiently robust to accommodate changes. The field samples of key ecological characters have been used for geospatial extrapolation. The landscape capable of maintaining the viable population species. Feasibility. fragmentation. Utility. policy and institutional factors are crucial for conserving biodiversity. This information is of valued importance in rugged. inhospitable region throughout northeastern region. Understanding of species habitat relationships. often paramount in deciding how to allocate conservation resources. disturbance and biological richness across the landscape is organized in the form of Biodiversity Information System (BIS) (Fig. the most common nonbiological criteria. The species database has been linked with above spatial details. . species / habitat relationship and helps in biodiversity conservation planning by setting priority areas. as well as considerations of the physical environment. Among the biological criteria are richness (the number of species or ecosystems in given area).

It has a potential for monitoring the phenological fluxes of largely forested landscape at regional level. This was found as an excellent source of data for understanding the land dynamic processes and human interventions in the region. which is widely practiced in hills of Arunachal. . considering forest phenology and optimal season. which was taken as one of the inputs in mapping disturbance regimes. is also a causing factor in the depletion of biodiversity. Forest of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern region of India with such rich biodiversity is disappearing at an alarming rate mainly due to anthropogenic activities. Indo-Malayan and IndoChinese biogeographical zones as well as the confluence of the Himalayan region with peninsular India (Rao 1994). Application of recent ad- vances of space technology and their integration with biodiveristy studies to different levels and data generation for setting criteria and priorities are provided below. Integration of maximum NDVI was evaluated for monitoring the seasonal changes in vegetation. 4. Jhum or shifting cultivation. Irreversible changes and deterioration of ecosystems are caused not only by the extensive destruction of natural habitats but also by direct extermination of many important species of fauna and flora meeting various human needs and greeds. varied topography. Biological Information System (BIS).ROY & BEHERA 161 Availability Distributed Spatial Data Satellite Remote Sensing & Geo-spatial Modeling PRIMARY OUTPUTS Species Database NON SPATIAL INFORMATION Red Data Book (BSI) French Institute Database Field Database Published Flora Endemic Species ANCILLARY INFORMATION FSI (Forest Cover Map) Wildlife Institute Of India (Biogeographical zones of India) Digital Elevation Model Drainage Digital Chart World Biological Richness Disturbance Index Fragmentation Vegetation Type Settlement+ Roads (DCW) Identification of Biological Gap Area Species + Habitat Relationaships Biodiversity Conservation Planning Bioprospecting Zonation Fig. Biodiversity characterization at landscape level in Arunachal Pradesh – fulfills the information need? The rich species diversity which characterizes the flora of north-eastern region of India is largely attributable to the diverse geographical area. climate and soil variability. immigration and colonization of plant species from widely different territories and is a transitional zone between India. Regional level mapping was carried out for the preparation of ecological zone map using IRS-WiFS data (Wide Field Sensor) with a capability of covering large area in single instantaneous field of view (IFOV). Methods Mapping at macro level The satellite data of IRS-1C/1D have been used to extract the vegetation types.

1998). With the help of Survey of India (SOI) digital boundary the state area was extracted.162 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT Mapping at meso level IRS – 1C/1D LISS-III digital data were used for classification. fir. relative density and relative dominance have been calculated to compute the importance value index (IVI) for each stratum. agriculture. The IVI has been utilized to calculate species richness using Advantage:Inexpensive A scale of surrogacy survey & units more inclusive for a value currency of character diversity of viability enhancing process ‘Ecosystem richness’ ? Climate class richness Terrain class richness Low Environmental surrogates High Environmental / Assemblage surrogates Substrate class richness Landscape class richness Habitat class richness Assemblage surrogates ‘Community class richness’ Vegetation class richness Taxonomic surrogates Higher taxon richness Species/subspecies richness Taxonomic/phylogenetic subtree length Expressed gene richness Molecular surrogates High Low Source: Paul Williams. Vegetation Type/ Land use Map of Arunachal Pradesh. Pine. temperate broadleaved. Dipterocarpus. Pre-processing (radiometric and atmospheric correction) of data was done prior to classification. sub-tropical evergreen. Hollock. sub-alpine and alpine scrub. relative frequency. conifers. Phytosociological data viz. This classified information has been used to delineate the spatial extent of forest (Fig. The scenes were geometrically corrected (Root Mean Square Error < 0. Field data generation Stratified random sampling and nested quadrat approach was followed for carrying out community analysis after a reconnaissance survey in various districts of the state (Anon. moist mixed deciduous. river/water body. snow and cloud. Various vegetation classes mapped are as follows: tropical evergreen.002 – 0. fallow/barren land. Finally classified map of the study area was prepared on 1:250 000 scale. abandoned jhum. 5. 5). bamAdvantage: Precision as a measure of character diversity boo mixed. The entire state of Arunachal Pradesh is covered in 21 scenes. Riverain and grass land. Intensive ground truth data was collected prior to classification by repetitive field visits.007) and then mosaiced. degraded. . Rhododendron. Size of the quadrat was determined through species-areacurve. settlement/habitation. 2000 Fig. shadow. tropical semi-evergreen. Digital classification was carried out through hybrid classification (supervised and unsupervised techniques) approach using ERDAS Imagine software. Various non-forest classes mapped are dry river bed/sand.

juxtaposition Biodiversity characterization The biological richness at landscape is determined as a function of ecosystem uniqueness. terrain complexity and disturbance index Result and discussion Vegetation mapping The entire state of Arunachal Pradesh was covered in 21 LISS-III scenes of IRS-1C/1D satel- . juxtaposition. interspersion. porosity. biodiversity value. Disturbance index The landscape parameters were finally integrated to derive disturbance index map of the state (Fig. forest density and economic value. Image Processing (ERDAS) and C/C++(Anon. The main parameters like EU. Total number of families. biotic disturbance buffer. 6). Using these different characters along with proximity inputs (roads and settlements) were used to derive disturbance index (DI) map. fragmentation. Digitally classified product with different landscape parameters (porosity. The biological richness map shows a clear pattern. H. Disturbance index image obtained gives a clear picture of both anthropogenic and natural disturbances and their spatial extent in various levels. interspersion. The biological richness values have been used for scaling the region or area for potential biodiversity prospect zones (Fig. ∫ ecosystem uniqueness. terrain complexity and disturbance. Community analysis Highest Shannon-Weiner diversity was observed in subtropical evergreen forest followed by temperate broadleaved and tropical evergreen forest. BD etc. The information system evolved through multicriteria analysis in GIS facilitates the following: • Rapid assessment for monitoring biodiversity loss and/or gain • Assess nature of habitat and disturbance regimes. species diversity. which cannot be judged without a critical understanding of the whole spectrum of phenomenon responsible for it. Landscape characterization Satellite images were used to generate the vegetation type map. species diversity. Biological richness = index Biological richness mapping The mapping of biological richness carried out in Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh (Behera 2000) revealed that sub-tropical evergreen forest zone is highly rich biologically followed by tropical semi-evergreen forest environment (Fig. Terrain complexity is derived from the terrain through DEM. Due to the radiometric variation between individual scenes. The map shall be useful for managers and decision makers for various planning and enforcing conservation measures. The results of the present study characterize biodiversity at landscape level for bioprospecting and conservation.. The vegetation cover type map was prepared by using digital classification following hybrid approach. Disturbance = Index lites. genera and species of plants were found to be highest in tropical semievergreen forest. These parameters have ultimately been used to ordinate the vegetation types (Behera 2000a. This work aims at developing reversal process of deforestation and degradation in northeastern region by setting conservation priorities. 7). ∫ fragmentation. Assigning different intra-class weights to various indices has simulated disturbance index after performing normalization. To fulfill the requirement of landscape analysis. Bio_CAP that is a Geospatial Semi-Expert package was developed using GIS package (Arc/Info). The field data was collected to derive biodiversity value on the basis of importance index. 8). they were classified separately and then mosaiced using the previously stored ground control points (GCPs) to obtain the final classified map for the entire state. 1999). Roy & Tomar 2000). patchiness.ROY & BEHERA 163 the Shannon-Wiener index. biodiversity value. patch characteristics) were generated and analysed. come from ground based observations in various vegetation types specially ecosystem uniqueness is derived with the help of species database query shell which is based on IUCN categorization scheme.

164 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT .

ROY & BEHERA 165 .

166 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT .

. The habitat definitions in the form of vegetation cover types • • will allow ‘what to look where’. Hence if the field survey indicates that the region is important habitat for a species for bioprospecting. Habitat identification and Fig. The Gap Analysis carried out on maps will guide mangement and decision making for bioprospecting. Biological Richness Index (BR) asserts the areas. and • Prioritizing conservation and bioprospecting sites. which are under ‘stress’. depth. Following are the areas where the database would have direct use. Species diversity. GIS and GPS provided following features: • Biodiversity is generally greatest in the oldest ecosystems. Genetic diversity vs. 9. altitude. The disturbance regimes assessed across the landscape will allow focusing on the ecosystems. aridity etc. All plant species have a basic requirement of its ecological optima in particular habitat or niche within range of tolerance and requirement.ROY & BEHERA 167 Evolve species – habitat relationship. which should be treated as priority in decision-making and management level for conservation of biodiversity. Mapping biological richness and gap analysis. the ‘stress’ factor needs to be removed/reduced. It changes across environmental gradients like. • • Highlights of the work The status of information and ongoing practical aspects of the integrated studies using recent techniques of remote sensing. latitude.

The patches with genetic and species diversity should draw first attention followed by patches of high species and/or genetic diversity. Behera. • It is expected that the maps will be strategically used for planning detailed ground level inventories of flora and fauna by premier institutions like Botanical Survey of India. These areas can be expected to be in equilibrium where species can occur. Project Manual. IALE Methodology in Landscape Ecological Research and Planning. Roskilde. inferences on possible corridors and species database compliment the information needs. Similar ecological conditions in different geographical location bear similar biodiversity if not the same. it may be concluded that not ‘either-or’ but a hybrid approach (both ground sampling and satellite tool) play a major role in assessing biodiversity at landscape level. Each species requires a specific ecological niche (minimum/optimum area for its survival. The role programs for multiscale analysis of landscape structure using the GRASS geographic information system. the greater is diversity of the species.M. 1999. association.D. Deforestation and its affects on foresting birds in the Florida Keys. 1995. Behera.species – environment complexes. Greater the variety of types of habitat.D. Anonymous. patchiness.168 BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT • • • • • economic importance of the species can be useful input for bioprospecting and biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity Characterization at Landscape Level in Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh (Eastern Himalaya) Using Remote Sensing and GIS. 15-19 October 1984. latitude. 1992. . Dehradun Baker.L. their composition. & Y. M. 2000a. The region wise maps can also be used for redefining ecological zones required for biodiversity conservation. M. Most of the species growing in the natural conditions have some sociological association with the species – environment complex and in general have fairly well defined niches. G. 1998. Hardwar. Such information base can be of immense value for bioprospecting. Cai. Once the comprehensive species database is established. Diversity also increases with expanding architectural complexity of the physical habitat. Integrated gene marking techniques can help in preparing the location . gene exchange). Thesis. Indian Institute of Remote Sensing. Zoological Survey of India.T. Bio_CAP User Manual for Landscape Analysis and Modeling Biological Richness. Based on the existing literature about the occurrence of the valuable threatened species (BSI Red Data Book and field data of the present and subsequent studies). Effects of landscape structures on biological communities: the case of hedgerow network landscapes. Ph. Biodiversity Characterization at Landscape Level using Geographic Information System. its habitat can be examined in terms of its landscape requirements of the species. 1999. Hence. Proceedings of International Seminar. A. potential species distribution and occurrence maps can be generated. Carrington. Gurukul Kangri University.D. Strong. evolution. interspersion and juxtaposition have shown impact on the definition of the limits in different habitats. Bancroft. Biological rich areas are those habitats where landscape ecological conditions are favorable for natural speciation and evolutionary process. Employment News 24: 1-2. Conservation Biology 9: 835-844. Denmark. fragmentation levels. intact and juxtaposed patches of high diversity in any landscape should draw first attention for conservation. W.. The ground inventories on species/ genetic diversity should further decide on priorities. 1984. State forest departments and Wildlife Institute of India. The vegetation cover types. grow and evolve in natural conditions. Remote sensing and environment. Dehradun. But they will have differences at genetic level. J. Landscape Ecology 7: 291-302. Vol. I: 55-65. Indian Institute of Remote Sensing. Baudry. The patches having higher biological diversity at landscape level will be subject for more intensive ground inventories for assessing species/genetic diversity. Management of contaguous (large). Analysis of landscape parameters like habitat fragmentation. M. References Anonymous. altitude.

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