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Earth observation data for assessing biodiversity conservation priorities in South Asia

  • C. Sudhakar Reddy
  • V. S. Faseela
  • Anjaly Unnikrishnan
  • C. S. Jha
Original Paper
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Abstract

An ecosystem approach is the only way to conserve habitats and the enormous number of species. The related area-based Aichi biodiversity target of the convention on biological diversity aims to conserve at least 17% of terrestrial environment by 2020. This is the first regional study to recognize a network of key habitats to achieve conservation goals. It is essential to have a spatial framework by creating the indicator using existing remote sensing-based data. In this work, conservation principles were integrated at the ecosystem level covering irreplaceability and vulnerability along with representativeness. Forest persistence, ecosystem rarity, forest intactness, landscape-level ecosystem, biomass carbon stocks, and biological richness were among the biological criteria used to analyze ecosystem irreplaceability. The proxies used for ecosystem vulnerability are high fragmentation, fire hotspots and proximity to disturbance factors. A unique value is assigned to each individual pixel in the prioritization map. Overall representation of habitat coverage in protected area network of South Asian countries indicates under-representation of several forest types with less than 17% coverage. The overlay of the priority areas proposes that there is a possibility of conserving many species with the notification of protected areas. This study demonstrates the conservation priorities by identifying key habitats based on multiple conservation principles.

Keywords

Forest Ecosystem Irreplaceability Vulnerability Priority 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The present work has been carried out as part of ISRO’s National Carbon Project. We thank ISRO-DOS Geosphere Biosphere Programme for financial support. We are grateful to Shri Santanu Chowdhury, Director, NRSC, Dr. P.G. Diwakar, Director, E.D.P.O., Indian Space Research Organisation and Dr. P.V.N. Rao, Deputy Director, RSA, NRSC for suggestions and encouragement. We express our gratitude to Dr. P.S. Roy, Project Director, DBT-DOS Landscape level biodiversity project and project team for sharing the biological richness map of India. We are grateful to NASA and USGS for providing ready access to the MODIS data and Landsat data respectively. We acknowledge the anonymous reviewers for comments that significantly improved the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Sudhakar Reddy
    • 1
  • V. S. Faseela
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anjaly Unnikrishnan
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. S. Jha
    • 1
  1. 1.National Remote Sensing CentreIndian Space Research OrganisationHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management - KeralaThiruvananthapuramIndia

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