Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ornithology and GIS

During spring, flocks of migratory wading birds arrive from their natural habitat, which would be usually intolerably cool during winter, to a critical non-breeding habitat on the tropical places.

Protection of these migratory birds is a concern that needs real attention. Some of these birds from northern hemisphere fly more than 20,000 km a year in search of a suitable dwelling place for survival during the winter season.

The use of GIS and remote sensing technology can be used as an integral part to trace the migrating location of these birds from field mapping to reporting of the location.

One tip to find the birds of migration is to identify their food habit. This would give an idea of their prospective migrating location with regard to the availability of the specific food.

For instance, if we take the birds that usually migrate from Siberia to the tropical North coast of Australia. These migratory birds feed on small animals that live in mud such as crabs, snails and worms. These birds naturally migrate to the area of low muddy lands of Australia to feed and refill their energy for their journey back to their natural habitat.

Using compatible and innovative GPS units and enough field staff, samples can be collected from various points of the expected area of migration by producing progress maps and occasional species maps. By these procedures, even the presence of any new species in the area also can be identified.

To cite another example, some migratory birds have time and again halted in Malaysia during their roosting season that usually lasts from November to March because of its Matang Mangrove Forest.

The arrival of these migratory birds was observed by The Department of Wildlife and National Parks and they have decided to create a GIS database in order to study the biodiversity and sustainability of migratory birds.

Finally, they made a GIS database for the migratory birds and conducted an overall analysis on the captured data. The methodology run from need assessment to data collection, database development and system integration. This finally resulted in an analysis on the trends of bird migration, the properties of ecosystem, environment sensitivity analysis and spatial statistic analysis on the distribution of the migratory birds.

As already mentioned, the resultant migratory bird’s database contain statistical results on the trend of bird migration which in turn helped to identify the endangered species of migratory birds. When the endangered species are classified, measures and procedures for the maintenance of the mangrove areas are taken.

The database of the migratory birds with reference to the diversity and sustainability of the birds can been developed using ArcView 3.2, MapObject 2.0, Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0, AutoCadMap 2.0 and S-Plus 2000.
Geospatial services
Article By: RARIMA N S

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