IFGTB to carry out GIS mapping of trees in State

With ISRO’s satellite images, Google Earth, and field studies

Published - August 05, 2014 11:41 am IST - COIMBATORE:

The Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB) here has undertaken a project to create geographic information systems (GIS) mapping of trees that have economical and environmental importance in all 32 districts of Tamil Nadu.


The institute has completed mapping two tree species in Ariyalur district through spectral signatures analysed from satellite images that were bought from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s National Remote Sensing Centre in Hyderabad, IFGTB Director N. Krishna Kumar told The Hindu .


Mapping of trees in Pudukottai, Sivaganga, Cuddalore, Villupuram and Karur districts will start soon.

The project was also intended to predict the growth of tree species that have economic importance in the next decade.

This data would be of immense benefit to industries such as paper, furniture, toys, dolls, plywood and pencil manufacturers that are dependent on trees.

The Institute was looking at public-private partnership mode to carry out the project. A tie-up will benefit both the industries, which can chart out a strategy to get an assured source of raw material for the next several years, and the institute will get to conduct research that will benefit the country.

An IFGTB team comprising R. Vivekanandan, Head of Forest Information Management Division, and A. Rajasekaran, a scientist, carried out field research and cross-checked the data obtained from the satellite images.

Each tree species will have a different colour in the satellites images.

Thus, by studying the images, the scientists identified the tree species in each location and followed it up with a ground survey, Mr. Krishna Kumar said.

The team concluded that Ariyalur, which spanned 1,942.5 sq.km., had eucalyptus trees growing in 123.78 sq.km or 6.3 per cent of its total area and casuarina trees in 11.92 sq.km or 0.6 per cent. Both these species were used in pulp and construction industries.

Forest cover

The IFGTB Director said that the research could also be used to increase the forest cover in the country.

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