KERALA

Project to map and save wetlands

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Every pond, paddy field or any other wetland in an area will soon find a place on a high resolution digital map. Even objects one metre above the ground will be mapped. The map will give an exact picture of the nature and type of wetlands.

The mapping is being done by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSSB) to evolve a management system for wetlands. Scientists from the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History and the Kerala Forest Research Institute are working on the project.

V.S. Vijayan, chairman, KSSB, said the project will map all the wetlands in an area and list their major biodiversity aspects.

“At a later stage, economic aspects of the wetlands will be identified and people will be able to derive financial benefit from them, without compromising on the biodiversity,” he said.

A long-drawn process

The mapping process is tedious and the KSSB has fixed a time period of 10 months. Mr. Vijayan said, “The initial mapping is being carried out by geographical information system (GIS). Later, the data generated by remote sensing will be physically verified.” The Salim Ali Centre has so far carried out such studies in 76 districts in 14 States in India.

The lessons from these surveys will help in evolving a scientific management and conservation project for Kerala, which is well-endowed with wetlands.

These projects are of great significance as a large number of wetlands in the State are under threat.

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