Forestry & Ecology Applications Area
Forests constitute about 65.45% of the total geographical area of northeastern India. This region represents 24.22% of the country’s forest cover (FSI, 2017) although it occupies only 7.98% of the country’s land area. Forests of this region are structurally unique and diverse owing to its location in the transition zone between the Indian, Indo-Malayan and Indo-Chinese biogeographic region and the altitudinal variation and rainfall patterns of southwest and northeast monsoon in the region also play a significant role. But these forests are under immense pressure as the ownership is mostly under the community, clan or private and little under the control of the States. The State Forest Departments of the region had been preparing the forest working plans for the divisions where no approved working plan exists and revising for those which are expiring. NESAC has been supporting different state forest departments in preparing the geospatial inputs and computational estimates of growing stocks at forest compartment level. Studies on vegetation and soil carbon, bamboo resources, forest biomass estimations, wetland mapping, shifting cultivation dynamics and burnt area assessment are some of the other activities of this group.
RS&GIS based inputs for Forest Working Plans
Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Govt. of India adopted National Working Plan Code in 2014 for the management of forests under the prescriptions of a working plan/schemes prepared on the basis of principles of sustained management of forests and recognized silvicultural practices. Accordingly, exercise for RS&GIS base forest working plan input preparation has been taken up in the state of Arunachal Pradesh (entire State), Assam (21 divisions), Meghalaya (entire State) and Mizoram (Entire State) in collaboration with the respective State Forest Departments. The working plan for 27 reserve forests of Meghalaya distributed in three working circles has been approved by MoEFCC. The working plans for the Lunglei, North Vanlaiphai, Kolasib, Thenzawl, Aizawl and Chakma ADC divisions of Mizoram has also been approved by MoEFCC. Forest Resource Information System - a geoportal on forestry for easy access, retrieval, analysis and preparing management plan is being developed for each state.
Wildlife habitat & corridor monitoring
Wildlife habitats are under severe pressure due to increasing human population and encroachment, resulting in depletion, degradation and fragmentation of habitats, loss of corridors and an increased human – animal conflict. Towards management of wildlife habitat in NER region, studiesonmapping the suitable habitat of elephant (Rani & Garbhanga RFs) and tigers (Dampa Tiger Reserve) and also to identify the potential corridor for the movement of wildlife have been carried out.
Above ground biomass estimation using SAR data in tropical and subtropical forests of North East India
The studies aims to understand the potential of microwave data for estimating the above ground biomass representing different forest types of the undulating rugged terrain of region.
Invasive species monitoring
The study initiated to understand the potential use of reflectance based remote sensing techniques in identifying and monitoring the invasive species causing the devastation in wildlife habitats of NER.