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Application of Geoinformatics in Natural Resource Management at Micro Level

Dr V Madhava Rao
Geomatics Cell, Centre for Micro Planning,
National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad.
Email: mrv@nird.gov.in

Dr R R Hermon
Email: rrh@nird.gov.in

The pressures on the natural resources have tremendously increased over years by man's greed for commercialisation and livilihood of local people. Devoid of regeneration, population pressure and wide scale tree felling depleted the natural resources to a level, which posed a problem for the very sustenance of man. Therefore it is imperative to understand the consequences of manmade initiatives and to devise proper strategies to counteract these detrimental effects to keep a balance of the environment, ecology, green cover and human livilihood.

Geoinformatics has proven as a powerful tool for studying the natural resources and help in locational features, extent of coverage, monitoring the resources and in generating modeling for probable scenarios, which assists in optimising resource utilisation.

The Geoinformatics application is demonstrated through a Case Study in Keshampet Mandal of Mahaboobnagar District of Andhra Pradesh. Various layers like Landuse and Land cover, Geomorphology, Slope etc have been generated along by integrating both satellite imagery and ground data, which was analysed to generate an action plan for land development.

Geoinformatics use in the natural resource management has proved to be an indispensable management and decision making tool which can ensure optimum use of the resources and help in devising systems for judicious resource use and management practices and generate land based action plans, which can easily taken up by local communities, PRIs, CBOs, NGOs and Watershed Associations. Further monitoring of various activities and impact assessments can be reliably administered for ensuring visible benefits to the community involved.

Geoinformatics would be used extensively by all at all levels in the foreseeable future in a cost effective and time saving manner and would be customised and simplified with local language interface to be used by local communities with ease like the present scenarios of PIK, IT and ITES in rural areas.

Geoinformatics Application
The approach takes into consideration various elements of natural resources, viz., all base layers, existing land use / land cover, soil map, hydrogeomorphology, terrain slope, drainage, watershed maps and local peoples' aspirations with respect of socio economic considerations to suggest a suitable action plan for sustainable development of land and water after scientific analysis of the spatial and non-spatial data.

Locale-specific action plans for sustainable development of land and water resources can be generated on watershed basis, integrating thematic information generated using satellite data with collateral/conventional information and socioeconomic inputs. The action plans are basically recommendations towards improved soil and water conservation for ensuring enhanced productivity, while maintaining ecological/ environmental integrity of the area/region. The action plans, to illustrate, address identification of sites/areas for surface water harvesting, groundwater recharge, soil conservation measures - through check dams, vegetation bunding; sites/recommendations for improved/diversified farming systems with fodder, fuel wood plantations, agroforestry, agro-horticulture, etc. These action plans can then be presented to the people for sensitising them to get involved and to integrate their planning with reflections of their aspirations and with a convergence approach for Panchayats and Local Bodies to take decisions. The support organisations for such an efforts can be the Government Departments, State Remote Sensing Centres, universities, private entrepreneurs and NGOs.

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