Wednesday, October 24, 2012

India expands its biodiversity databases

T.V. Padma in India is expanding its biodiversity databases and linking them in a network so that policymakers for programmes that address biodiversity, climate change and socio-economic concerns have ready access to information. An Indian Bioresources Information Network (IBIN) was launched this month (11 October) by M. S. Swaminathan, eminent crop scientist and founder of the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation of India, on the sidelines of the 11th conference of parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in Hyderabad.

IBIN builds on a 14-year-old agreement between India's department of biotechnology (DBT) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to combine remote sensing data with ground observations to characterise biodiversity and landscapes. "Landscape characterisation is important for any evolving landscape conservation strategy," P. S. Roy, a scientist with the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehra Dun, under ISRO, said during a discussion on IBIN on 17 October.

DBT has already compiled three databases – one on biodiversity characterisation at landscape level, which comprises a spatial database on vegetation/land use types, landscape fragmentation, disturbance regimes, species richness, biodiversity value, and biological (plant) richness. A second database is on plants, animals, marine and microbial resources, while a third is on vegetation, forest cover and other landscape elements. The three datasets are the largest on the country's biological resources, K. N. Ganeshiah of school of ecological sciences, University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore, told SciDev.Net.

IBIN would forge links with existing biodiversity databases, Ganeshiah said. This adds to the efforts of The Indian Biodiversity Information System (IBIS), started in 2010 by the Foundation of Ecological Security, a non-government organisation based in Anand, Gujarat state, to expands its database on birds to mammmals. IBIS announced this at the COP-11 meeting on 14 Oct...

Asian elephants at nagarhole National Park, India, shot by Dineshkannambadi, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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