A decision making tool being evolved by the researchers at Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C—DAC) in Pune to help in forest management, is expected to go a long way in arresting poaching and illegal tree felling in the country.

Working on the project named “Aranya” is the Geomatics Solutions Development Group (GSDG) of C-DAC which is a scientific society of the Central Ministry of Communication and Information Technology entrusted with providing IT based solutions in various spheres.

“Aranya“ - a Comprehensive Spatial Decision Support System - is being developed in collaboration with the Forest department of ‘Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) with the aim of enabling forest managers to take well informed decisions covering various aspects including Wildlife.

Elaborating on the ongoing research, Mahesh Kale, project leader (R&D) of GSDG told PTI that the system could highlight the sites of crime related to poaching, tree felling, illegal entry into forest etc in a particular division with associate attributes such as date of crime, animal poached, material seized and number of person involved.

“The tool also provides information about the intensity of crimes along roads and locations of different crimes happening in the specified area,” he added.

It would also show at the click of the mouse the areas suitable for a particular animal, analysing the land areas based on different criteria, availability of water and food.

Mr. Kale said the system would be helpful in taking well informed decisions in the areas of ‘territorial forestry’, ‘Joint Forest Management’, ‘Wildlife Management’ and ‘Village Development Planning’.

“The tool uses Geographic Information System (GIS) to run the user specific query and display the relevant results in the form of a map. The GIS database is developed at division level and can derive different information at the click of the mouse,” he noted.

The other aspects that can be covered by the system include display of plantations carried out in a particular division in a particular year with associated attributes, potential areas for relocation of forest villages under development planning and Carbon Calculator system to calculate carbon pool/ sequestration by a forest in a given area.

“Carbon calculator is developed on the basis of the species and area specific biomass equations compiled by the Forest Survey of India (FSI),” Mr. Kale said, adding that the development of “Aranya”, to be launched in near future, was being done using “open source” technologies to ensure a wider reach, making first of its kind project of this magnitude.