Proceedings of the 2007 ESRI Conservation GIS conference

(June 18 - 22, 2007, San Diego, California, USA)

Conservation Track Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday

Conservation Hall Theater 1: SCGIS International Conservation Track

Tuesday, June 19
GIS Tools for  Protected Areas 8:30 - 9:45
Informational system on protected areas of Russia.
Ekaterina Tsybikova, Transparent World, Russia dd
Russia’s system of protected areas covers 12% of its territory and has century-old history of legislation. At the same time only 2% of the country’s territory is extracted from economic use. Given growing environmental, political and business interest in protected areas precise geospatial information on them has become crucial necessity. To fill this gap, NGO consortium started in 2003 and still maintaining special information system, which consists of two blocks: GIS based Spatial Database and the Web based Descriptive Database on all 101 strict nature reserves (zapovedniks), 36 national parks, and 69 federal-level wildlife refuges. Information system includes data on functional and biosphere zoning, reference and attributive data. Spatial Database is constructed at a scale of 1:200000 using official documentation. This level of detail and accordance with legislation makes it possible to use this information system to support decision making process in regard of protected areas. Databases are constantly being updated with new data thus making Information system the most accurate and comprehensive system of this kind in Russia.

GIS for Nature Park
Irina Mikhailidi, "Altai 21-st Century" Public Fund, Russia dd
Nature parks in Russia have their very heavy times. Especially it concerns nature parks of regional level. The majority of nature parks in the Altai Region are just regional ones. The matter is that almost all of them were designated without any actual land use planning had been performed, and therefore their status is not legal according to Russian legislation. In fact the existence of these protected areas in Altai Region is currently under threat. Our organization helps protected areas (in particular nature parks) in completing land use planning and preparing necessary textual and cartographic documentation for environmental impact assessment, as it is required according to current legislation of Russian Federation.

GIS is one of the important components in information support of ecologically oriented land use planning in nature parks. It is created to support the stable development of park and consists of minimum three components: land use planning component, monitoring environment component and current park management component.

Land Use Planning Component is a main component. Its primary function is spatial and attributive database maintenance for constructing a series of maps of the following content:

1. Situation plan that shows the place where a park is situated;

2. Vegetation map;

3. Forest management map;

4. Landscape map;

5. Agro-economic map;

6. Land use map;

7. Land property map;

8. Geologic and geomorphologic map;

9. Geo-ecologic map;

10. Recreation and tourism map;

11. Visitors’ carrying Capacity Map

12. The map showing current state of the area.

13. Functional zoning

14. Planned land use map.

The Monitoring Environment Component is an analytical component that performs an analysis of changes of environment and assesses these changes.

And at last the Current Management Component may include different functionality supporting current park’s activities and among them the function of regulating and redistributing tourists’ streams.

Our organization has been working with two nature parks on the cretaion of land use planning scheme for these parks. They are Aya Nature Park situated on the south of Altai Krai and Katun Nature park situated in the Chemal District of the Altai Republic. Both these parks have the same problems: not having general plan of the development and not even having their own land fixed legislatively in their property they can not stop a chaotical building process that worsens conditions of environment and reduces an aesthetic attractiveness of the area.

Aya Nature Park is situated in a very picturesque area at the foothills of the Altai Mountains. The main value of the area is Aya Lake itself – a very beautiful lake having a shape of a heart. It is almost the only lake in the Altai Mountains with warm water. That’s why the lands surrounding the lake have been built rapidly by private tourist firms and the lake is currently threatened by increasing number of visitors. The area needed careful land use planning in order to conserve the lake and its surroundings.

Katun Nature Park has the same situation.

In 2004-2005 our GIS laboratory together with the specialist from Altai State University and Institute of Architecture and Design took part in the projects on land use planning for Aya Nature Park. And in 2005-2006 we have been working with Katun Nature Park again in order to create a cartographical and text documentation for land use planning in accordance with current legislation of Russian Federation.

Large-Scale Mapping Of The Land Use Conflicts On A Natural Landmark In A Stage Of Degradation Using GIS And Remote Sensing Methods.
Vanya Nikolaeva Naydenova, Space Research Institute – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
Clarifying the ecological aspects of nature use is one of the most important criteria for assessment of the territory's sustainable development. This is a comparatively new trend in nature sciences. The paper presents methods for creating a thematic database aimed at processing and retrieving information from remote sensing data for the purpose of analyzing and large-scale mapping of land-use conflicts for catchments mapping level. Remote sensing methods and GIS technologies make it possible to identify the areas with strongest manifestation of land use conflicts and determine their spatial parameters.

The developed methods were approbated on the territory of the Kutina catchments located in the north-west part of the Metropolitan Municipality. One of the major emphasis is placed on land use conflicts of the Kutina Pyramids natural landmark, located in the studied territory. It was announced as natural landmark in 1962. The Kutina Pyramids represent a group of earth pillars in a stage of accelerated destruction and loss of morphological expression as a result of the anthropogenic activity and lignite coal excavation, carried out in its immediate vicinity. The changes of the spatial range and manifestation of land use conflicts over a 65-year period (1940-2006) on the territory of the Kutina catchments, Metropolitan Municipality, were investigated. Local complex geomorphological analysis and monitoring of modern morphodynamics are being carried out to clarify the reasons for the pyramids' degradation.

The thematic database created for the purpose includes archive panchromatic aerial photographs and high spatial resolution satellite images for various years, large-scale topographic maps, data from terrain studies and GPS measurements, photos, thematic maps and other department databases. The data organization is based on 12 classification indicators of land-use conflicts, where each class describes specific conflict characteristics: conflict source, affected object conformity with the land use categories, arising of the conflict, manifestation, duration, development stages, development trends of the conflict, degree of the conflict's impact, shape of the outlining contours, border character, conflict groups, undertaken measures for solving the conflicts.

The information about all these main conflict parameters, required to develop land-use management plans or landscape-ecological plans, is difficult to be represented on a single map. Two groups of parameters are usually represented on the maps of conflict-situations in land-use: the sources of the conflicts and the affected objects. Based on the created thematic database and some of the classification indicators, a number of thematic cartographic models, tables, and graphs were produced. It is suggested to compose two maps: inventory and analytic. The first one represents the localization of the concrete conflict sources and the conflict areas according to the source. The second map represents areas with typical combinations of the conflicts, different development tendencies, conflict duration, conflict's shape of the outlining layout contours, border character, degree of the conflict's impact, and conflict groups.

The composed database serves as a main source of information in preparing suggestions to remove or mitigate their influence. It provides for quick retrieval of unbiased information on land use conflicts and their spatial parameters. The producing of such type of maps may be of use in landscape planning, which will help the local self-governing bodies and the natives to make everything possible for the conservation and preservation of the natural landmark.

*The study is implemented within the framework of scientific-research contract NZ–No.1507/05 concluded between SRI-BAS and Scientific Research Fund at the Ministry of Education and Science

GIS uses in Landscape Change 10:15 - 11:30  
Application of GIS and remote sensing techniques to assess the status of forest types of the Southern Eastern Ghats, India
Gopala Areendran, WWF, India
This work was aimed to map the existing vegetation types of the region with focus on land use/land cover patterns using satellite imageries and GIS. This was particularly in and around the natural forest patches. The Eastern Ghats constitute an important biogeographic region of the Indian subcontinent. This has been identified as a major centre of unique plant diversity. Base maps with information such as forest patch, transportation network, village location, drainage, administrative boundaries were converted into digital formats using ArcView and ArcGIS software. Indian remote sensing satellite (IRS) with
23.5 m resolution was used for evaluation of forest types.
Global positioning system (GPS) was used in the field survey for collecting the ground information and the location reading was noted for reference. The data analysis included assessment of the forest cover and land-use pattern across the landscape of the region.

Eastern Forest Cover Change Detection
Haqiq Rahman Rahmani, WCS, Afghanistan
Eastern Forest in Afghanistan contains some of the remaining forest in the Himalayan mountain region and is critical to biodiversity. Because of the drought, the conflict in the country and the high rate of deforestation in the region, the wildlife in this area is under threat. The instability and absence of government has encouraged the logging enterprises to devastate the forest during the conflict period. Preliminary UNEP (2002) Landsat analysis found that forest cover in Nuristan has decreased by 53 percent and in Kunar by 29 percent between 1977 and 2002. Residents predict similar losses for the forested regions in the provinces of Paktia, Khost and Paktika. If this rate of deforestation continues, estimates suggest that most of the remaining forested valleys could be completely stripped of trees within five to ten years. So WCS is planning a forest cover change detection under its Eastern Forest Complex Program. This study will unite analysis of forest cover change over the past 3 decades with fieldwork on current wildlife distributions to prioritize conservation based on species threats.

Analysis of Factors of Forest Cover Change on Mt Cameroon using Remotely Sensed Data
Keble Babey, Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society (CWCS), Cameroon
The proximate causes of forest cover change on Mt. Cameroon are still poorly understood despite the fact that it is habitat for rare and endemic species. Information on driving forces of forest cover change is very vital in order to assist governments and conservation organizations in developing strategic plans.

The aim of this study was to investigate the forest cover dynamics of Mt. Cameroon in one subperiod (from 1986-2002) and to quantify some driving forces of deforestation. Digital data on driving forces of forest cover change, like roads, settlements, forest edges, rivers, and satellite imageries were employed in the study. Remote sensing and GIS tools were used to map, detect and quantify changes in land cover, inclusive forest cover and also to quantify the factors that are influencing forest cover change in the area.

The study mapped out the Mt. Cameroon region first through an unsupervised classification carried out prior to field survey. A supervised classification was then carried out and the field survey data was used to validate the results of the Landsat TM 2002. A supervised classification was carried out on Landsat MSS 1986 and archival data was used to validate the result. Change detection was based on UNION (a form of GIS overlay in ArcView 3.2a) of the two maps produced from the Landsat MSS of 1986 and Landsat TM of 2002. A spatial query of the output table from the UNION revealed the land cover change types and their direction of change which were further quantified.

The study showed a general increase in agricultural land and a decrease in forest cover. Further analyses were carried out to determine the factors that could be used to explain the forest cover loss (deforestation). A spatial model that was based on logistics regression analysis revealed some driving forces that influence deforestation in the study area. Distances to roads, settlement and forests edge showed statistical significance with deforestation while distances to rivers were not statistically significant with deforestation. The pattern of land cover showed that deforestation tended to cluster in some areas, occurred in a diffuse manner in other areas and occurred in a linear manner in some areas.

Land cover maps, the change results, the spatial models and the land cover pattern that have been developed in this study will permit the identification of areas where forest conversion is likely to occur in the near future. This information if used with information on the spatial distribution of species habitat will help planners in developing management plans that will prioritize conservation efforts.


Generalized Assessment of Environmental Degradation in Ukraine
Victor Belogurov, Emergency Rescue Service of Kharkov (ERS), Ukraine
The generalized assessment of environmental degradation is formed of estimations of its components, such as an atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Set indicators are offered for definition of a general estimation of ecological conditions for each component. An "indicator" is a numerical value derived from actual measurements of a pressure, ambient condition, exposure, or ecological condition over a specified geographic domain, whose trends over time represent or draw attention to underlying trends in the condition of the environment. All calculations and cartographical operations are executed by ArcView 3.2. Spatial analysis of the generalized assessment allows determining the most critical problems, regions and factors. Ecological management of the most critical items will give the greatest effect for the improvement of ecological condition of all territory.


GIS in Fire and Disturbance Regimes 1:30 - 2:45
A Spatially linked Fire Database as a tool for recording, managing and monitoring Fire in the Fynbos Biome of the Western Cape, South Africa
Arne Brendan Purves, Western Cape Nature Conservation Board, South Africa
Managing fire in the fynbos biome is a difficult and complex task at the best of times. The Fynbos biome has evolved with fire and as such needs to be managed with fire. In South Africa, fire reports are a legal requirement after each fire event in protected areas and nature reserves, especially where there has been damage to property. However, fire reports also provide critical information for ecological veld management. Veld age and fire frequencies have a huge impact on the health of the fynbos biome, as is the case in other Mediterranean shrubland vegetation types, such as the Californian chaparral. It is imperative that current veld ages are known, and the minimum fire return period is understood (usually determined by the age to production of viable seed by the slowest growing species) in order to implement correct fire cycles. Knowledge on the minimum fire return period required by the plants in a specific reserve allows us to determine thresholds of potential concern. GIS allows us to analyze all the fire reports for an area and compare the results of current veld age and previous fire return intervals (fire frequencies) with these thresholds of potential concern in order to facilitate adaptive management. This knowledge also helps us to identify sensitive areas, areas of ecological risk or of risk to infrastructure and high-value crops, which helps us to know where to allocate financial resources in managing fires. All of this is dependent on accurate spatial fire data.

CapeNature has developed a spatially explicit Fire database, written in MS Access. This database is linked to ArcView through a custom script and stores the spatial data within the database itself. This database is able to produce a shapefile in ArcView of all recorded fires, and it can calculate current fire frequencies and current veld ages. The database itself can generate the fire reports for the managers, thus increasing their productivity and decision making abilities.

Fire information system, a basic need for identifying problem and prioritizing efforts in minimizing the impacts of vegetation and forest fires in South Sumatra.
Solichin, South Sumatra Forest Fire Management Project (SSFFMP), Indonesia
Vegetation fires are becoming frequent events in Indonesia due to highly significant deforestation rate after unwise forest utilization in the early 1970. Illegal logging and an unsustainable development program have worsened the situation and led to increasing amount of fire prone logged over forests. Fire management is becoming great issue in 1997 after prolonged dry season boosted fire and haze episode in Indonesia and the region. Fire information system is one important component to support fire management system. The aim of developing fire information system is to support decision making system to define appropriate efforts in fire prevention, suppression and impact rehabilitation. Fire information system consists of 3 different types of information according to 3 components of fire management (fire prevention, fire suppression and fire impact restoration), which are fire early warning, fire monitoring and detection, and fire impact assessment. The system is using GIS for data processing and information displaying and remote sensing for input data acquisition.

Fire risk and threat mapping is part of the early warning system. It is important to have information about where we have the highest risk for fire and have reason for fire to become uncontrolled. To develop fire risk area, we have to incorporate several important factors related to fire, such as vegetation coverage, rainfall distribution and peat land distribution. The next step is weighting and scoring. Using MODIS hotspot distribution we could investigate how frequent fires or hotspots occur in particular area. This gives us the ability to score and weigh each component from those fire-related factors. The more frequent the higher is the score and risk. Finally using ModelBuilder tools from Spatial Analyst, one can easily apply the methodology and create a fire risk map. Moreover, to define which areas have potential economical and ecological values that might be threatened by fire is important for prioritizing areas to be protected. Additionally, identification of local capacities in fire suppression is crucial information that can be used by land managers for fire suppression strategic planning and resources allocation. Fire monitoring and detection using high temporal resolution imageries such as MODIS and NOAA are very useful for daily quick assessment on possible wild fire occurrences. With resolution of 250 meters, MODIS imagery can be used also for detection of burn scar areas. In Indonesia or in many tropical countries, cloud is the biggest problem to obtain a good satellite images. Therefore, with high temporal resolution, one can have more options to choose appropriate images during the end of fire season.

GIS in International Conservation 3:15 - 4:30
Application of GIS for Conservation and Sustainable Management of Wetland Ecosystem in Nepal
Mahesh Pathak, Society for Wetland and Biodiversity Conservation(WBC Nepal), Nepal
Main objective of this paper is to show role of GIS, RS and GPS technology for the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation. This is based on the application of GIS introduced by WBC Nepal for conservation and sustainable management of wetland and Ecosystem in Nepal. To depict the application of GIS, this paper is divided into three parts: Role of GIS, RS and GPS for Wetland inventory, Detail mapping of critical Wetland areas and GIS analysis for their sustainable management. The first part describes the application of GIS, RS and GPS to perform wetland inventory of the Terai Region (physiographically Nepal is divided into three parts: Terai, Hill and Mountain, see map no. 1 for physiographic division of Nepal and no. 2 for wetlands of Terai region) of Nepal. For this purpose vector data of land use pattern was used as a reference information and field verification was done with Satellite Imageries and GPS. Among these Terai wetlands only four are listed in Ramsar site (see map no. 3 for the location of Ramsar site in Nepal). For the sustainable management of Ramsar site, WBC Nepal realized the need for detailed mapping of these wetlands. The second part of this paper describes the application of GIS for detailed mapping of Ramsar sites of Nepal (see map no. 4, 5, 6 & 7) for individual wetland listed in Ramsar site). Though the wetlands are known as the biological supermarket, awareness of the dependent community and local stockholders plays the vital role for their sustainable management and conservation. For this, WBC Nepal has prepared an Action Plan on Conservation and Sustainable Management of Beeshazar Wetland System, Nepal. Last part of this paper describes the application of GIS tools to perform geographical analysis for different natural and socioeconomic component of wetland area and surrounding dependent community (see map no. 8, 9, 10, 11,12 &13).

The spatio-temporal dynamics of fishing behaviour and its determinants in poor fishing communities
Nicholas Anthony Owen Hill, The Institute of Zoology, UK
The spatio-temporal dynamics of fishing behaviour are of central concern to conservation biologists working with coral reef ecosystems. The livelihoods and food security of the majority of poor people in the coastal area of East Africa depend on marine resources. However, fisheries are in decline due to over-exploitation, threatening the integrity of reef ecosystem services and the livelihoods of coastal communities. Attempts to address resource degradation have largely proven unsuccessful because of the failure to incorporate the determinants of fishing behaviour (where, how, when and how much) when implementing interventions. Without this information it is impossible to determine how successful interventions may be and how their benefit can be maximised. Detailed spatial and temporal information on fishing behaviour and resource distribution is required that can be related to biological and socio-economic determinants. We discuss how this information may be obtained and used with specific reference to small-scale fisheries in East Africa.

Distribution Patterns of Cacti in Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Miguel Angel González Botello, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Estudios Superiores de Ensenada, Mexico
In the period between 2000 and 2003 the state of Nuevo Leon was surveyed to make a list of its cacti. More than 600 specimens were collected and added to the CFNL herbarium and databases from 20 herbaria were consulted as well as field numbers of various investigators. This resulted in 171 taxa being recognized for the state: 134 species and
66 subspecies in 33 genera. A Geographic Information System in ArcView GIS 3.2a was developed with climatic, physiographic, topographic, edaphic, geologic, and vegetation data for the state, which was divided into 35 quadrants measuring 30' latitude by
30' longitude. Distribution patterns were determined for all species, and polygons of potential distribution were delimited. A new index (Geographic and Ecologic Amplitude Index, GEAI) was created to evaluate the habitat specialization of each species. A cluster analysis was carried out to elucidate the affinity between genera, quadrants, eco-regions and vegetation types. The genera Mammillaria, Echinocereus, Coryphantha, and Opuntia are the most diversified. The regions originating during the cretaceous have a greater number of species, as do the regions with lithosoil and xerosoil between 1,000 and
1,800 meters above sea level and that of the "Gran Sierra Plegada". The greatest number of species was observed in regions with warm to semi-warm arid climates, in areas with rainfall between 400 and 500 mm/yr and in micro and rosetophyllous desert scrub. The GEAI proves the high specialization to certain habitats; Cumarinia and Peniocereus are the most restricted genera. Coryphantha hintoniorum, C. ramillosa, Cumarinia odorata, Opuntia macrocentra ssp. pottsii and Turbinicarpus schmiedickeanus ssp. schwarzii having the minimum IAGE value. Mammillaria and Turbinicarpus show the greatest degree of species endemism. Two-thirds of the genera and one-third of the taxa are protected. The pattern of similarity between quadrants adjusts to the eco-regions as well as vegetation types and genera. Sixteen high-priority conservation areas were determined and are designated in zones with greater concentration of protected species, endemics or those with low GEAI.






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compilation : Charles Convis, ESRI Conservation Program, May 2007 & 2020
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