Candidate, Faculty of Fine Arts, Architecture Department, Helwan University
Two of the major factors threatening wildlife species around the
world are habitat fragmentation and urban encroachment. Scientists know the
loss of one species may “threaten the balance” of an entire ecosystem. Habitat
fragmentation may also lead to “the introduction and spread of invasive or
non-native species”, both plant and animal species.
Therefore, analyzing a threatened habitat geospatial is an
important key in understanding the health of a species in the wild & preventing
their extinction and revitalizing their populations. Modern approaches to wildlife ecology,
conservation, and management often demand sophisticated quantitative methods of
data analysis and modeling.
Geoinformatics technology is an effective tool for managing,
analyzing, and visualizing wildlife data in order to target areas where
conservation practices are needed. Monitoring change in wildlife habitats is
feasible with GIS software, a tool for managing, analyzing, and depicting
statistical and geographic data. GIS-based linkage models offer a useful
complement to empirical approaches such as telemetry by identifying
multispecies movement areas and can help guide siting of crossing structures
and other mitigation actions.
wild life, habitats, conservation, urbanization
Conversion of natural habitat to human uses, including urban
development, agriculture, and extractive industries such as mining and
intensive forestry reduces the amount of intact natural habitat and fragments
what remains (Saunders et al. 1991). The portion of the planet characterized as
urban is on track to triple from 2000 to 2030, and we are already almost
halfway there. Meanwhile, all 20 species on the Audubon Society’s list of
“common birds in decline” have lost at least half their population since 1970. Those
kinds of stark numbers, repeated around the world, have made it disturbingly
evident that it’s not enough for cities to plant a million trees, preach the
gospel of backyard gardens, or build green roofs and smart streets. The trees,
shrubs, and flowers in that ostensibly green infrastructure also need to
benefit birds, butterflies, and other animals. They need to provide habitat for
breeding, shelter, and food. Where possible, the habitat needs to be conserved
and arranged in corridors where wildlife can safely co-exist & travel (R.
Conniff, 2014). In preventing habitat extinction and revitalizing their
populations, new ecological, conservation, and management approaches demand precise
quantitative data analysis, managing & modeling methods, such as Geographic
information system (GIS).
Therefore, this research aims to address Geoinformatics through a
literature review and focuses on the technologies used in gathering information
of the wildlife habitat data as well as analysis of spatial data through
geospatial modeling, to prevent their extinction and revitalizing their
populations. Finally, conclusions & recommendation were addressed.
The innovation and development in computer, communication and
software is contributing towards the growth of information technology. The net
result of these changes is that it is now relatively easy to create, store,
retrieve, and analyze large quantities of spatial and non-spatial data of urban
system. A related change is the rapid development of Geographical (spatial)
information technologies such as Remote Sensing (RS), Global Positioning System
(GPS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) (P. Philipose, 2014).
Geoinformatics is referred to the science and the technology which
develops and uses information science infrastructure to address the problems of
geography, cartography, geosciences and related branches of science and
engineering. It combines geospatial analysis and modeling, development of
geospatial databases, information systems design, human-computer interaction
and both wired and wireless networking technologies (P.L.N. Raju, 2010).
Geoinformatics has at its core the technologies supporting the
processes of acquiring, analyzing and visualizing spatial data. Geoinformatics
combines geospatial analysis and modeling, development of geospatial databases,
information systems design, human-computer interaction and both wired and
wireless networking technologies (Joseph
L. Awange & John B. Kyalo Kiema, 2013).
Using aerial photography and satellite image obtained through
remote sensing, it is possible to gather information covering wide geographic
areas; such as information about natural resources or information about the
environment. For example, it is possible to gain an understanding about the
expansion of desertification or the state of food production by studying the distribution
of vegetation. In addition, if these methods are used in conjunction with field
work or by rearranging existing data, more detailed space information can be
collected. Positioning data is attached to this collected information and it
can then be analyzed using a geographic information system (GIS). A GIS is both
a database of space information and a tool for its analysis. For example,
analysis of landform data or precipitation data can lead to information used to
predict natural disasters. In this chapter, we will cover the basic outline of
these methods of gathering and analyzing data (Field Informatics Research Group, 2010).
Geoinformatics help to monitor and visualize; Population and
distribution – Habitat use and preferences – Progress of conservation
activities – Historical and present regional biodiversity (ESRI, 2007).
are several technologies that fall within geographical information, but those
who are useful in gathering information according to the objectives of the
paper, habitat conservation & mitigation of fragmentation, are addressed. Remote
sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) are among the many useful
means for gathering and analyzing such information.
2.1 Remote Sensing (RS)
Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about an
object, area, or phenomenon through the analysis of data acquired by a device
that is not in contact with the object, area, or phenomenon under investigations.
This is done by sensing and recording the reflected or emitted energy and
processing, analyzing, and applying that information. The advent of Remote Sensing
through space borne and air-borne platforms and sensors has opened new vistas
for modern, scientific surveying of earth’s natural resources. Remote sensing data
is the name given to any data where information about a location is collected remotely,
i.e. from a different location, such as collecting information about the ground
surface from inside an aircraft (Canadian
Natural Resources, 2010).
sensing covers wide-scale terrestrial, atmospheric and oceanographic data
collection as well as the monitoring of global-scale environmental shifts, has
applications for a wide variety of fields. In terrestrial science, remote
sensing is used as a means of acquiring and analyzing data about the environment
and natural resources; such as data on land use, land cover, changes in vegetation
and projections of crop growth and grain harvests. In oceanography, it is used
to measure sea level, water pollution, the distribution of plant plankton, sea
temperature and so on. In atmospheric science, it is used to examine the
composition of minor atmospheric constituents, such as carbon dioxide and
ozone, and to analyze cloud formations and other weather phenomena (Robert A., 2007).
There are three types of remote sensing. First, there is visible
spectrum/reflection infrared remote sensing, which measures reflected sunlight.
Second, there is thermal infrared remote sensing, which measures heat radiation
emanating from objects. Third, there is microwave remote sensing, which
measures the reflection of emitted microwaves. Each of these is applied
appropriately according to the purpose of an investigation (Field Informatics Research Group,
Application of the satellite remote sensing techniques to wildlife
research began from discernment of the individual animal and/or evaluation of
animal behavior from the photography experiments. Satellite remote sensing to
wildlife research at the present has applied for the purpose of evaluating the
animal habitat. Trends in satellite remote sensing for wildlife are evaluating
the index of wildlife habitat and estimating relationship with an environmental
variables and animal distribution. By mapping whether wildlife is suitable for
what kind of environment such as potential habitat and habitat suitability,
appropriate wildlife management including zoning becomes possible in animal
conservation or human-wildlife conflicts (Takuhiko
2.2 Geographic information system (GIS)
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a technological tool—put
simply, a map—that displays geographical data in ways that can inform
decisions. It allows you to associate data with places. It is used in a wide
range of industries, including government utilities, emergency services, and
business, to show spatial information such as point locations, borders, roads,
and polygons. Widely used for conservation purposes by wildlife biologists,
resource managers, and ecologists, GIS is also used by non-scientists such as
property managers, private landowners, farmers, and others who confront
critical land and natural resource use decisions (Audubon International, 2015).
Conceptually, a GIS can be envisioned as a stacked set of map
layers, where each layer is aligned or registered to all other layers.
Typically, each layer will contain a unique geographic theme or data type. The
GIS database stores both the spatial data (where something occurs) and the
attribute data (characteristics of the spatial data) for all of the features
shown on each layer. These themes may include, for example, topography, soils,
land-use, cadastral (land ownership) information, or infrastructure such as
roads, Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZ), pipelines, power lines, or sewer networks.
Figure (2-1) gives a schematic view of geographic layer system in GIS. By sharing
mutual geography, all layers in the GIS can be combined or overlaid in any user-specified
combination (V. NAIR
K. & V. CHANDRA S.S., 2014 a).
Fig. (2-1), the nine key thematic
layers in the multipurpose GIS data model
for USGS’s The National Map and TNRIS’s StratMap.
GIS enables conservation professionals to access and utilize
current, historical, and time series information relevant to conservation,
including data on species occurrences, ecosystem conditions, watershed
boundaries, and land-use patterns. When using GIS, data are contained in layers
that can be overlaid with one another to identify relationships between
wildlife and landscape patterns. This enables resource managers and public and
private landowners to visualize where sensitive habitats occur, where conservation
practices may need to be implemented and ultimately what protection strategies
are effective. GIS helps users to monitor, visualize, analyze and understand; Species
populations and distributions – Land use and land change – Community assets – Progress
of conservation activities (Audubon International, 2015).
In the highly dynamic and complex world ‘information’ has become a
critical resource for effective and efficient management of organization.
Information Technology in its various forms is enabling organizations to churn
raw data into meaningful information for effective decision making. One such
form of Information Technology (IT) is Geographic Information System (GIS). It
is described as: “An organized collection of computer hardware, software,
geographic data and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update,
manipulate, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced
information”. According to this definition, GIS includes not only computing
capability and data, but also manages the users, and organizations within which
they function and institutional relationships that govern their management and
use of information. GIS system design and implementation planning are not a
separate process. They must occur in conjunctions with one another (Hari Shanker Sharma et al, 2006).
ArcGIS is a suite consisting of a group of geographic information
system (GIS) software products produced by ESRI. ArcGIS is a system for working
with maps and geographic information. It is used for: creating and using maps;
compiling geographic data; analyzing mapped information; sharing and
discovering geographic information; using maps and geographic information in a
range of applications; and managing geographic information in a database. The
system provides an infrastructure for making maps and geographic information
available throughout an organization, across a community, and openly on the Web
ArcGIS software is used to identify wildlife threats and explore
how these threats are caused by human and environmental impact, because it
includes a wide range of options for spatial analysis and geostatistical tools,
allowing users to identify spatial risk patterns of wildlife threats, to
explore their association with anthropogenic and environmental features, and to
model a risk prediction map of wildlife threats (I. Iglesias et al, 2014)
2.2.3 GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM (GPS)
Global Positioning System or GPS is a United States space-based
radionavigation system that helps pinpoint a three dimensional position to
about a meter of accuracy (for example latitude, longitude and altitude) and
provide nano-second precise time anywhere on Earth (Nasa TV, 2014).
This technology is increasingly used as input for GIS particularly
for precise positioning of geo-spatial data and for collection of data from the
field. One major advantage is its capability of forming a powerful building
block in an integrated system. GPS together with a co-ordinate system and GIS
produces a map and the map facilitates navigation (V. NAIR K. & V. CHANDRA S.S.,
plays an important role in wildlife conservation by enabling managers to track
the movements of animals and figure out important information like population
home ranges, migration routes & better understanding species habitat use
and detect deviations from normal animal behavior (Löttker, P., Rummel, et al, 2009).
EFFECTS ON WILDLIFE HABITATS
Urban areas are rapidly expanding, causing extensive habitat modifications
that have significant consequences for the environment and wildlife.
Understanding how wildlife communities respond to urbanization has been a
central goal for urban ecologists for the last few decades. Changes in species
richness, abundance and community composition are commonly reported in wildlife
communities within urban landscapes. These changes are influenced by local and
landscape level environmental variables. Fragments of vegetation embedded
within the urban landscape are important areas for conservation and wildlife
within these fragments are affected by the characteristics of the fragment.
These characteristics include: fragment area, isolation, urban intensity of the
surrounding landscape and other ecological variables e.g. habitat features or
biological interactions. Understanding these fragment features and
characteristics that help retain biodiversity is important for informed
efficient conservation of biodiversity. In addition to the more traditional
style of urban studies which examine changes in wildlife communities as a
result of environmental variables, urban landscapes provide scientists with an
opportunity to investigate a broad range of questions (Benjamin James,
4. CONSERVATION & MITIGATION OF WILDLIFE FRAGMENTATIONS &
EFFECTS OF URBANIZATION USING GEOINFORMATICS
Conservation refers to the protection, management, and restoration of natural
resources including the plant and wildlife communities that inhabit the
environment. Conservation efforts focus on addressing threats to the natural
environment such as global climate change, habitat loss, pollution and
deforestation, which can cause the biodiversity of earth to be threatened
through habitat fragmentation and species extinction (Audubon International, 2015).
used for linear feature extraction can be used for the extraction of wildlife
habitats from satellite imaginary, (P.
MATERIALS: includes the collection of satellite images, GPS data
HABITATS: The wildlife habitats may not be clearly visible in the satellite
image in the raw form thus it is to be processed and enhanced to get the road
EXTRACTED HABITATS: The processed image is to be loaded in ArcGIS for the extraction of
habitats. The habitats are digitized by visual interpretation and saved as
corresponding feature class for each image.
Audubon International addressed that, Geo-informatics help users to monitor,
visualize, analyze and understand:
Species populations and
distributions. Threatened and common wildlife populations, native plant
distribution, and invasive or exotic vegetation occurrences are mapped across
time and regional scales. GIS aids property managers in protecting sensitive
habitat and populations where they occur amidst development, such as on
recreational lands (e.g. golf courses). Or by plotting species distribution
data over time, species invasions can be analyzed by modeling the rate of a
Land use and land change: The ability to
show land cover types with species data over time is critical in assessing
wildlife habitat use. For example, GIS allows users to overlay data about
species occurrences and habitat use to find out what habitat types are used
most often and preferred by various species. This has important implications
for planned development and expansions on various property types. Also, mapping
how land changes (whether by natural forces or human development) can identify
where habitat fragmentation is occurring.
Community assets: Parks, open
space, and trails are beneficial to wildlife as well as for human uses.
Progress of conservation activities: GIS enables
users to identify conservation targets, set conservation goals for particular areas,
and monitor the progress of these activities over time. As our population
grows, it is crucial to plan our communities and protect green spaces and
conserved areas for a healthy environment and sustainable living. GIS helps to
track the present status of an area as well as predict or plan the needs of the
future. A small scale example: an area of property seems to be a good habitat
for birds. Using GIS, it will make a map tracking the most visited areas by
birds over a series of days’ observations. Using this information later, will
put bird feeders in highly used areas.
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– Hari Shanker
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– Joseph L.
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