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Natural resource management division deals with the management of natural resources such as land, water, rivers, soil, plants and animals, with a particular focus on how management initiatives affect the quality of life for both present and future generations. The division is run with the notion of sustainable development, a principle that forms the basis for land management and environmental governance throughout the world.
 
The following studies / activities have either been undertaken or are being planned to launch in near future:
  Inventorying and mapping of natural resources like wetlands, soil, forests, ground water reserves, etc. in area specific manner like districts, states or at international level
  Inventorying and mapping of spatial extent of biological resources especially ecologically sensitive units like micro flora, macro flora, fauna etc.
  To undertake studies regarding the nature and extent of exploitation of the natural resources in specific Region / District / State / Country.
  To undertake studies for rationalisation of utilisation of natural resources like soil, forest, ground water resources etc.
  To carry out studies towards development of models for optimum use of natural resources based on equity and equality in specific Region / District / State / Country
  To explore the possibilities and to carry out studies towards finding out ways and means for replenishment / conservation of renewable natural resources like rain water harvesting
  To develop methodologies for ‘Wise Use of Natural Resources’ at different level.
  Policy formulation and consequent intervention for management of natural resources on a holistic manner.
  To extend co-operation and to co-ordinate between different agencies / institutions for establishment of a framework towards sustainable utilisation of natural resources.
 
A number of projects have so far been undertaken and successfully completed under this division. Some of the important projects are mentioned here:
 
  Wetland Mapping of West Bengal :
  Wetland Mapping of Tripura :
Wetland Mapping of Tripura was carried out following the same technique as detailed above. Tripura is one of the seven North-Eastern States of India having an area of 10,477 square kilometers. It accounts for only 0.32% of total land area of India and occupies 22nd position in terms of area among the states and Union territories of India. It is located between 22 degree and 56 minutes and 24 degree and 32 minutes north latitude and between 90 degree and 09 minutes and 92 degree and 20 minutes east latitude. It is bounded on the north, west, south and south-east by Bangladesh whereas in the east it has a common boundary with Assam and Mizoram. Total Population 27,57,205 as per 1991 Census. Total number of districts is only three. Although it is a small state, but from the environmental and ecological point of view, the state is of immense importance. Almost 60% of the State is under forest cover. Tourism is the main Industry here.

Wetlands assumes special importance here. Average annual rainfall is 2100mm. The wetlands help in harvesting this rainwater and helps in agriculture during the lean season. Through the mapping exercise, altogether 411 wetlands of size greater than 2.25 hectare occupying an area of 6327.70 hectare in pre-monsoon season have been identified and mapped here. In addition, 3407 wetlands smaller than 2.25 hectare also exist in the state. The detail report of this project can be downloaded from here.
  Status of Surface Water Resources in West Bengal :
Studied in Howrah, Burdwan and Nadia District. The objective of this project was to prepare an inventory of surface water and to examine its quality for sustainable use of surface water.
  Mapping and Monitoring of wetlands using ERS-1 SAR Data:
The project was executed by National Remote Sensing Agency in collaboration with this Institute. Major task of this Institute was to collect field information and to correlate with the Remote Sensing data. The project was completed in September, 1995. The standard visual interpretation technique was employed to delineate various categories of wetlands and to evaluate the potential of various image processing approaches mentioned above for detecting these lands.

Wetlands playa major role in global biogeochemical cycling through anaerobic production of trace gases like methane, nitrous oxide, etc. and in maintaining the environmental quality especially in aquatic habitats by removing nutrients, processing chemicals and organic wastes and reducing sediment of water. Wetlands have been defined as the lands that are in transition between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Among the three wetland classification systems of Martin, Anderson and Cowardin developed in US, the Cowardin System grouping ecologically similar habitats defining habitat units for inventory and mapping; and providing uniformity in concepts and terminology throughout the United States is most systematic. In India, the Space Applications Centre, Department of Space, Government of India, has developed a wetland classification system suiting to Indian conditions.

Both air and spaceborne multispectral data along with aerial photographs have been extensively used for inventorying wetlands. By virtue of cloud penetration capability the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data has been found ideal for mapping wetlands in the coastal and other regions with persistent cloud cover. In this study, the European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-l) SAR data over Sundarban delta was used to generate information on wetlands and to study the temporal behaviour of these lands. The approach essentially involves speckle removal from digital SAR data, image registration, merging of SAR and the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS-l) satellite Linear Imaging Self-scanning Sensor (LISS-II) data and generation of the Intensity, Hue and Saturation (IHS) transform.

The standard visual interpretation technique was employed to delineate various categories of wetlands and to evaluate the potential of various image processing approaches mentioned above for detecting these lands.

Amongst various speckle removal filters, namely, median, Kuan, Lee, Frost and Gamme MAP employed, the last filter was found to be quite ideal as it retains the image features while substantially removing the noise (speckles) The IRS transformation helped in better delineation of two categories of mangroves in terms of crown density. Incorporation of SAR data as a channel in the standard FCC print of LISS-II data has not Only improved the overall image contrast but also brought out the upland areas supporting plantations and vegetable crops. In addition, the adverse effect of cloud cover on detectability of various terrain feature was found to be minimum with the incorporation of SAR data into FCC band combination.

The interpretation of Landsat-MSS data of 1973 and of ERS-1 SAR of 1993 for the same season is another noteworthy feature of the study which enabled the authors to study the temporal behaviour of wetlands. In the coastal areas, formation of new islands and expansion of existing islands has been observed. The shrinkage of wetlands abutting Calcutta city due to human encroachment for urbanization and agriculture was also noted.

The detail report of this project can be downloaded from here.
  Wetland Information System :
A menu driven Wetland Information System was developed in ArcView GIS software for the State of West Bengal. Input wetland maps were at a scale of 1:50,000 prepared during Nation-wide wetland mapping project using IRS LISS II data of 1992-93. NRIS standards were used for codification. Menu System facilities information retrieval and data input functions both in tabular as well as in spatial form at district or state level based on wetland types are the major components of the Information System. Incidentally, West Bengal is the first state in India which is having such digital information system. It has been termed as WINSYS. The project was sponsored by Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India. It was executed in collaboration with Space Applications Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad (who acted as the nodal agency) and National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO), Kolkata. The project was completed in April, 2003.

The detail\ report of this project can be downloaded from here.