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Post at: Jul 13 2021

LiDAR Based Survey of Forest Areas

Recent Context

  • Recently on June 25, 2021 Union Environment Minister (Prakash Javadekar) released LiDAR-based reports mapping out the water requirement within forest areas in 10 states. 
  • These reports will be used to augment groundwater in forest areas so that animals don’t venture out in search of water.

Aim of the Report

  • The DPR (Detailed Project Report) will help in planning and identifying locations and structures for construction of appropriate and feasible micro soil and water conservation structures consistent with site specific geography, topography and soil characteristics.

Coverage

  • 10 mapped states are: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, and Tripura.

Key ObservationsRelated to the Report 

  • It is a first of its kind study using LiDAR technology. 
  • The project was awarded to Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) in July 2020 at a cost of over Rs. 18 crore for implementation in 26 states.
  • WAPCOS is a Mini Ratna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Jal Shakti Ministry.
  • States will be given Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds to use in this project.It follows the ‘Ridge to Valley’ approach of watershed management.
  • One major ridge inside a forest block is identified in these states with an average area of 10,000 hectares selected in each State.
  • These structures will help in catching the rain water and prevent stream run off, which will help in recharging of groundwater.
  • It will help augment water and fodder in jungle areas thereby reducing human-animal conflict.

CAMPA

  • Supreme Court of India ordered for establishment of Compensatory Afforestation Fund and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in 2001.
  • In 2006, adhoc CAMPA was established for the management of Compensatory afforestation fund.

CAMPA Act of 2016

  • The law establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  • These Funds will receive payments for: (i) compensatory afforestation, (ii) net present value of forest (NPV), and (iii) other project specific payments.

The National Fund will receive 10% of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90%.

 

Method

  • The survey has used the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology to create 3-D imagesof the forest areas to recommend soil and water conservation structures.  

What is LiDAR(Light Detection and Ranging)?

  • LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. 
  • These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system — generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
  • A LiDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.
     

 

Previous Instances of LiDAR Application in India 

  • In 2019, India’s National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has begun conducting a LiDAR-based aerial ground survey for the proposed Delhi-Varanasi High-Speed Rail Corridor (DVHSR).
  • LiDAR data are also being used for the development of GIS based asset management system for Railways. RITES has called to conduct the Aerial LiDAR Survey along the center line of proposed alignment of Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail corridor.

Conclusion

  • LiDAR and GIS systems are quite revolutionary technologies and its applications in agriculture, forests, flood management, railways infrastructure development etc. in India, are advantageous for central as well as state governments.
  • Projetcs like LiDAR survey of forest areas will benefit the states to enhance water resources within the forests to meet the needs of flora and fauna as well as fodder augmentation.  

Rishabh Srivastava
 


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