In a major step towards adopting a scientific approach in the maintenance of forests in state, the Forests and Wildlife Department has prepared GIS atlases on three wildlife divisions in the state.
The scheme to provide a single mapping platform to the five other wildlife divisions will be completed by the month-end, officials said.
The department embarked on the Herculean task of preparing GIS atlases on its 11 wildlife divisions and 25 territories in January, 2012. ‘’Master copies of the atlases on Thiruvananthapuram, Thenmala and Punalur divisions have been prepared besides one prepared on Konni division earlier. Now, we will distribute copies among the staff of the respective divisions,’’ said Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A K Goyal, who heads the Forest Management Information System (FMIS) wing of the department.
The atlases prepared by the FMIS have four major themes viz reserve forest, contour, drainage and administration. The reserve forest and contour plotting will be of good use to the officials in forest management and protection activities. The reserve forest and contour plotting are based on the reserve notifications on the region concerned, the officials said.
The drainage mapping which has information on the rivers, tributaries and other water bodies will turn useful in watershed management. The administration section plots the rail and road connectivity and utilities set up by the Forests Department.
‘’Actual plotting of boundaries require elaborate arrangements and hence we did the same for a single section under each division,’’ said Goyal. ‘’In the next phase, perhaps, we could undertake this laborious task with more personnel and advanced GPS machines,’’ Goyal said.
The sections for which the department has plotted actual boundaries are Chittar South in Thiruvananthapuram division, Kalluvarambu in Themanala division and Ambanar in Punalur division.
‘’Works on five divisions - Wayanad Wildlife, Chalakkudy, Thrissur, Marayoor and Malayattoor - will be completed this month and we hope to achieve the target in January next year,’’ Goyal added.
The data for the project is collected by the staff of the respective divisions while the data compilation and mapping is done by the Geo-Informatics Centre of FMIS. The division headed by the APCCF has one range officer and two guards as staff.